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Ozark Gold in Bellflower

August 16, 2000|DAVID KARP

The Bellflower farmers market started 14 1/2 years ago, in March 1986. So why is it celebrating its 15th year next Monday? Simple: Now's the time fruits and vegetables are most abundant, says manager Muriel MacGregor, who has been involved with the market since the beginning.

The market draws many of its customers from nearby retirement homes and a considerable portion of its vendors from local farms. Last week Mike Almond, who calls himself Farmer Mike, set out a table of splendid Red Oak, romaine and butter lettuces grown in North Long Beach.

From Carson, Mary Takahashi of Top Veg brought her usual bounty of fine vegetables, including Texas mustard greens, collard greens, mizuna, Japanese and Globe eggplants, yellow and green zucchini and crisp red, yellow and green peppers.

John Lingle, a marketing director before his company downsized, displayed dozens of medicinal and culinary herb plants organically grown in his Long Beach backyard, including variegated Cuban oregano with thick, fuzzy white and green leaves; Japanese shiso; highly flavorful French sorrel; and stevia, which contains a substance 300 times as sweet as sugar.

Willie Solomon of Downey had fragrant sage and wildflower honeys gathered in the local hills. From farther afield, Merle Leistner of Reedley offered Mutsu and Ozark Gold apples, Bartlett pears, Simka plums and Black Maru seedless grapes.

The Tenerelli stand from Littlerock had Redhaven peaches. Arnulfo and Fran Garcia of Kingsburg sold classic Early O'Henry peaches, Flavortop nectarines and Red Ace plums, a rare old Luther Burbank variety similar to Elephant Heart.

Bellflower farmers market, Simms Park, Clark Avenue and Oak Street, Mondays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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