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Farmers Market Report

April 28, 1999|DAVID KARP

The Westchester farmers market, held Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on West 87th Street at Sepulveda Eastway, may be overshadowed by the concurrent Santa Monica market, but it has a small-town charm of its own. Steel drums resound and Pacific breezes cool the 1950s street-scape while jets from LAX roar overhead. The vendors are mostly familiar from other farmers markets; the local customers are pleased to have them.

Last Wednesday, Tanaka Farms of Irvine had organic Camarosa strawberries, artichokes, gold and purple beets, cilantro and baby Maui onions. Nakamura Berry Farm sold organic spinach, arugula, leeks and bok choy from Oxnard.

Down the street, Eileen Pritchett of Visalia had sweet red onions, green tops still on, just picked the day before, as well as pristine-looking Yukon potatoes and a bounty of dried fruit: apricots, peaches, plums and persimmons. Sunny Slope Farm offered eggs from Cherry Valley, east of Riverside, while Yucatan Ranch sold filet mignon from Shasta.

Many citrus varieties are at their peak in Southern California long after the big Central Valley harvest has finished. Lilac Valley Orchards of Valley Center had top-notch minneola tangelos, navels and oroblancos (a grapefruit-pomelo hybrid that tastes like a super-sweet white grapefruit), along with a passel of jams, including a terrific blood orange marmalade.

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