New Farmers Market in Glendale: Artsakh Gardens

Organizers Lilit Barsegyan (left) and Hilda Avanessian.
Photo courtesy of Liana GRIGORYAN

By Lori BODNAR

A new farmers market is available locally. Located in the heart of Glendale, a grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Artsakh Gardens Farmers Market was held on Sunday, Sept. 12. The occasion was celebrated with live music, distinguished guest speakers and even a beer garden. Local Armenian musician Yeva Music provided live entertainment at the farmers market, singing in both English and Armenian.

Hundreds of patrons supported the new farmers market and enjoyed bread, charcuterie boards, carrot cake, sweets, coffee, pastries, organic fruit, quail eggs and honey. Shoppers could also find unique goods and handmade arts and crafts items such as candles, soap, clothing, scarves, organic flowers, jewelry, art, and health and beauty products, among others.

The farmers market will be held for three months weekly on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Glendale Central Library at 222 E. Harvard St. in Glendale.

Artsakh Gardens is a philanthropic-based farmers market with vendors who aspire to create a sustainable future for Armenia. The two organizations that are supported by the farmers market are Aid Beyond Borders (https://www.aidbeyondborders.org/) and Eternal Nation (https://eternalnation.com/).

Dr. Armen Hagopjanian from Eternal Nation attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening. Hagopjanian works directly with wounded Armenian soldiers and civilians injured in the recent war. On grand opening day, over $1,000 in proceeds from the beer garden were donated to Eternal Nation.

Thirty small business vendors were at the grand opening, and six more vendors are expected to join the market next week. The youngest vendor is 16 years old and sells homemade carrot cakes.

Photo courtesy of Lilit BARSEGYAN and Hilda AVANESSIAN

An unexpectedly large turnout at the farmers market resulted in many of the food and other items selling out. But for those looking to venture to Glendale, don’t worry: vendors plan to restock.

Hilda Avanessian and Lilit Barsegyan organized the Artsakh Gardens Farmers Market. They came up with the idea 10 months ago during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Artsakh.

Avanessian and Barsegyan wanted to support businesses that donated to charities that help Armenia. They found themselves traveling all over town to support small business owners selling supplies and donating to the Armenian cause. In creating the farmers market, these vendors are in one place. Shoppers can support small local businesses that give back a portion of their proceeds to help those impacted by the Armenian conflict.

“Our vision is to create an opportunity for local artisans and small business owners to support the people of Artsakh by donating a percentage of their sales to help wounded soldiers and displaced families while allowing the local community to shop for a cause and participate in this benevolent endeavor,” Avanessian said. “The Artsakh Gardens Farmers Market provides recognition to Armenian culture and brings people from all over California plus brings attention to Glendale city and businesses.”

“Downtown Glendale hasn’t had a farmers market for a few years,” added Barsegyan. “This farmers market benefits the community by having one place where people can support local businesses and Armenia. The vendors were shocked that they made more money than they anticipated because of the huge turnout and community support.”

California Senator Anthony Portantino and City of Glendale Councilman Ardy Kassakhian participated in the ribbon cutting grand opening.

“Even though we have a successful farmers market in Montrose, it is great to have one in downtown Glendale so people near downtown can visit and purchase unique produce and goods while supporting Armenia,” said Kassakhian. “The Artsakh Gardens Farmers Market brings foot traffic to the local businesses and invigorates the economy in the surrounding areas. The grand opening was well attended. There were people from all ages and ethnicities and from all walks of life. My son enjoyed the pastries and said that we need to go back for more. There were fresh organic flowers at the market, which was wonderful because last weekend was Grandparents’ Day so we bought flowers for them.”

Measures were taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the farmers market. Food was packaged in closed containers. Many people wore masks and face shields. Vendors had hand sanitizer available.

The Artsakh Gardens Farmers Market offers a way for local small businesses to flourish while supporting charities that help the injured and displaced people in Armenia. The market is multicultural and open to vendors and patrons from all walks of life who would like to support Armenia.

Vendors who want to participate in the farmers market can apply by reaching out to organizers Hilda Avanessian at (818) 823-5863 or Lilit Barsegyan at (818) 624-9631 or emailing artsakhgardens@gmail.com. The sponsors of the farmers market included Hye Rollers Motorcycle Club, NASA Waste Management Services and Neptune Production.