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Santa Clarita's Green Eggs

August 30, 2000|DAVID KARP

As the season for peaches and nectarines draws to a close, the harvest of vineyards is in full swing.

At Sunday's Santa Clarita farmers market, Betty Apkarian of Reedley offered bountiful baskets of grapes: Muscat of Alexandria, still the standard of flavor despite its seeds; Melissa, a promising new variety that resembles Thompson Seedless with a dash of Muscat perfume; and a seedless Concord hybrid with much of the "foxy" wild flavor of classic Concord but a thinner, less astringent skin. She also sold Flame and Thompson Seedless, the leading commercial varieties, which as usual were sweet but neutral (to put it kindly) in flavor.

The market featured 28 farmers, many of them small local producers. From just up the road in Canyon Country, Spencer Varian brought green Auracana eggs, which he said are higher in protein and lower in cholesterol than conventional kinds and were laid by chickens that truly roam free and live to a ripe old age.

Walt McBride had wildflower honey from nearby valleys in Ventura County. Vince DiTomaso displayed ripe, luscious figs from the Santa Rosa Valley: green Kadota, White King, Brown Turkey and Black Mission (the sweetest).

Vic Warren of Piru's Tangelo Rancho sold his family's special Warren white grapefruit (a variant of Marsh) and sweet, juicy Valencia oranges, a steal at $7 a carton.

The Scattaglia and Tenerelli stands carried Bartlett pears from Littlerock, a reminder of the era when Bartletts lined the Pearblossom Highway; they also had O'Henry peaches, one of the best commercial varieties.

Vicente and Irma Suarez of Santa Paula sold fragrant cantaloupes with deep orange flesh and seeded watermelons with dark red pulp, along with tomatoes and white corn. Pasquale Chavez of Santa Maria had a fine array of vegetables, including fresh, tender broccoli, celery and zucchini, as well as wonderfully sweet Oso Grande strawberries.

Santa Clarita farmers market, Valencia Boulevard and Rockwell Canyon Road, Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

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