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Farmers Market Report

Driven to Buy Cherries

May 26, 1999|DAVID KARP

At last Sunday's Beverly Hills farmers market, not only the produce had shoppers drooling: In an adjoining lot, an Auto Expo put on by local dealers also tempted the flush to pick up an Aston Martin convertible with their groceries.

Meanwhile, four vendors featured cherries, the market's fruit of the month. The best were the darkest, ripest ones of the Brooks variety, from Dinuba's Summer Harvest Farms. The Bautista Ranch of Stockton brought Burlat cherries, a bit less flavorful, but this Sunday it will have the real McCoy, Bings.

For stone fruit fanciers, Sherrill Orchards offered Honeycot apricots, an early variety, and luscious Pat's Pride white-fleshed peaches from Arvin. Across the street, Roger Sanders had Mayfire nectarines and Flavor Red peaches from Bakersfield.

Kay Wantanabe of Carpinteria, one of the market's nine flower and plant vendors, also sold giant Booth and White cherimoyas. From Agoura Hills, the Kenter Canyon stand displayed superb greens, including tatsoi, arugula, mesclun and baby spinach, along with fresh mint, tarragon, marjoram and rosemary. Valdivia Farms from Carlsbad had purple French beans (for $4 a pound) and Lebanese cucumbers, with paler skin, sweeter flesh and fewer seeds than the conventional kind.

Phillip Xiong, a Hmong grower from Fresno, sold long beans, Chinese broccoli, Shanghai bok choy (the most tender of its family) and bitter melon leaves--traditionally eaten, he said, in salad or soup because it is thought to relieve high blood pressure.

Beverly Hills farmers market, North Canon Drive between Clifton Way and Dayton Way, Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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