Valley Produce Market, located in Reseda, CA (northern Los Angeles) is not for the faint-hearted. But for those who are brave and a little bit tough, it can be a find.
The product base is vast but specializes in Middle-Eastern foods. There is also a decent amount of Indian staples as well, along with some Latin and Asian products. But as their name suggests, they are known for their produce.
They have every kind of produce you would see at a large supermarket, but in addition they carry multiple varieties of many items: 4 types of eggplant, at least 10 different fresh chiles, endless herbs and peppers. They even carried these beautiful Indian bittermelon. I’m not sure what you do with them, but someday I’ll find out.
The prices are hard to believe. A bunch of basil for 59 cents. Parsley 29 cents. Radishes – 3 bunches for $1. Nectarines on special for 69 cents per pound. And the produce looks delicious and fresh.
In addition to produce, Valley Produce has an extensive meat counter with prices that look significantly lower than chain supermarkets. For example, chicken leg quarters were 99 cents per pound. And all of the meat is wrapped to order. There is also a decent selection of offal meat, if you’re into that. And there is seafood, too though the selection is fairly limited and mostly frozen. But there were lobster tails for $3.99 each!
There are bread and bakery items, mostly Middle-Eastern in nature. Endless styles of pita and lavosh. Dairy items included a large selection of yogurt and labneh. Hummus. There are many staples including an entire aisle of rice, cooking oils (olive, grapeseed, peanut, avocado, sesame, sunflower, flaxseed, ghee), as well as canned and bottled fish, vegetables and fruits. And the spices are incredible!
There are many common spices represented but also many that I’ve never used. Dry whole lemons? Sour Grape Powder? Along with Zatar, Sumac, Middle-Eastern, Indian and Mexican spices and blends. The prices are incredibly reasonable.
The deli here is popular due to the selection and the prices, which also tend to be significantly less than chain stores. There is a decent selection of frozen foods with some more difficult to find items such as frozen okra or artichoke hearts and ice cream in flavors of saffron, rose water and pistachio.
One of my favorite sections of Valley Produce is the dried fruit, nut and seed aisle. Individual clear bags are wrapped and sold of endless varieties of fruits, nuts and seeds in various forms: raw, roasted, spiced, mixed and combined with other things. The prices are low compared to other markets and the sizes allow you to try many different things.
Here’s a sample of what I brought home: gorgeous veggie chips, an Asian peanut snack mix, Jumbo roasted and salted cashews and whole nutmeg. Yum.
To properly appreciate this market, it’s important to be aware that it gets CROWDED. Really crowded. If you can go when it opens @ 9 am, and better during the week vs the weekend, it will be better. Also, you may get your cart bumped now and again, and “excuse me” is not often heard here. There are sometimes long lines, at the deli and to check out. Unfortunately there is no organic much of anything here – though I did buy some organic tahini! But if you enjoy ethnic markets (like I do), this one is well worth a visit.