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FARMERS MARKETS

Doing Luther Proud

March 15, 2000|DAVID KARP

Burbank's farmers market, a mid-sized affair, has drawn steady local support since 1983.

At this time of year, many tomatoes, even at farmers markets, lack real flavor, but Saturday Ed Aguirre of Wong Farms sold tasty hydroponically grown Shady Lady tomatoes, which benefit from the late-winter warmth on the north shore of the Salton Sea.

Locally grown Hass avocados are now in full season, and Scott Hobson of Fillmore had plenty of ripe ones along with his Fuertes. From the same town, Tsugio Imamoto brought cilantro, celeriac, watercress and fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme and sage. Green Farms of Lompoc, a fixture at many farmers markets, had asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower.

James Evkhanian of Newberry Springs, in the high desert, carried a most unusual item: fragrant peach firewood from a derelict orchard. Several of the market's regular citrus vendors couldn't sell because of a Mexican fruit fly quarantine in Fallbrook, but J&C Ranch of Fillmore had ruddy Moro blood oranges, Minneola tangelos (still tangy after all these months) and bags of sweet navels. For apple fanciers, Kosmo Ranch of Cuyama Valley offered transitional-to-organic Fujis and Granny Smiths, crisp from controlled-atmosphere storage.

Vista del Mundo of Santa Barbara sold an assortment of custardy cherimoyas, large and small; some were smooth but others had odd extended bumps that made them look like hedgehogs. The stand also had large yellow-green sapotes. When soft-ripe, sapotes are really delicious, tasting like a subtle banana-vanilla flan; they're hard to find at supermarkets because they don't ship or store well, so they're a special treat at farmers markets.

Burbank farmers market, Orange Grove Avenue and 3rd Street, Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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