The Market Maven
Valerie Gordon uncovers the best produce and protein at the local farmers markets for her work at Valerie Confections and her family
By Lesley Balla
Photography by Andrea Bricco
Self-taught sugar queen Valerie Gordon has always had great taste. After working at the storied Hollywood haunt Les Deux Cafe, she and partner Stan Weightman Jr. opened Valerie Confections (3360 W. 1st St., L.A., 213.739.8149, valerieconfections.com), one of L.A.’s preeminent companies for chocolates, toffee, cakes (the recreated Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake and The Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake are widely popular) and award-winning jams and preserves. Gordon always used local, seasonal produce as much as possible, so it was an obvious next step to launch Valerie at the Market, a farmers market stand where you can pick up sweet and savory hand pies, jars of fruit jams like strawberry vanilla bean, perfect cookies, quick breads and other baked goods. “We try to buy as many products as the markets where we sell our goods,” says Gordon. “It’s more communal. We buy from them and use their produce in our products. Then we sell them back to other market customers in cooked form. It’s like cross pollination.” You’ll always find her buying seafood and flowers for her home, and ice cream for the kids, too. Look for the Valerie booth on Saturdays at the downtown Santa Monica market, and on Sundays at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market.