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Torrance of Spring

Farmers Markets

March 29, 2000|DAVID KARP

The Saturday Torrance farmers market, the third largest in the Southland, boasts 50 certified produce vendors, a dozen plant and flower sellers and a food court at the east end with 30 booths.

Saturday, the market's first spring session, several growers offered intriguing Japanese greens. Along with familiar spinach and mizuna, Edward and Takae Madokara of Riverside sold bunches of fuki (also known as sweet coltsfoot), long, slender stalks with broad, slightly fuzzy leaves. The tender stems, boiled, peeled and seasoned with soy sauce, are considered a delicacy in Japan.

Michi Ward of Yasutomi Farms displayed greens hydroponically grown in Pico Rivera, including komatsu-na, or mustard spinach, which is cooked as a potherb, stir-fried, pickled and used in soups. Top Veg of Carson had shun-giku, or chop suey greens, feathery chrysanthemum leaves that are typically boiled and seasoned with soy sauce, miso or ground sesame seeds. The stand also had huge bunches of celery, weighing up to 10 pounds, for juicing.

Vang Thao of Clovis, near Fresno, sold pea greens, yam leaves and Shanghai bok choy. From Arroyo Grande, Top Knot Farm brought super-fresh sugar snap, snow and English peas, along with giant fennel and tiny brussels sprouts.

The Hashiba stand stood among strawberry sellers with fancy stem Chandlers from Anaheim. Two couples from Fallbrook set out gorgeous displays of citrus: Hank and Myrta Thys sold organic sweet round Meiwa kumquats, ripe yellow Bearss limes, classic Dancy tangerines and deep-pink Star Ruby grapefruit; Nora and Raul Rios had unusually large tart Nagami kumquats, well-balanced Moro blood oranges and juicy Washington navel oranges. Francisco and Rosa Paniagua of Thermal sold fabulous soft Barhi dates as well as Halawis, Medjools and Deglet Noors; to greet spring, they brought in Barhi blossoms, stalks with yellow nubbins, for flower arrangements.

Torrance farmers market, 2200 Crenshaw Blvd., between Carson Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon.

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