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Front Burner | Farmers Markets

It's the Stone Age

May 31, 2000|DAVID KARP

After recent broiling heat in the Central Valley, stone fruit is coming on fast and furious.

Last Saturday at the month-old La Verne farmers market, Loretta Balderama of Orosi sold speckled, aromatic ZeeGrand yellow nectarines with very good flavor. Several vendors had attractive but tasteless Castlebrite apricots.

More intriguingly, Mark Boujikian's stand, from Raisin City, sold small, bright, green, crunchy Armenian plums, much appreciated by people of Middle Eastern heritage for eating fresh, though they might seem unripe to others.

Don Rosendahl, patriarch of the ubiquitous farmers market clan, made a rare appearance in the Southland to celebrate the birthday of his wife, Patty. His comprehensive stone fruit offerings included Flavorosa Pluots, sweet plum-apricot hybrids with purple skin and pink flesh; Red Beaut plums, a standard commercial variety; and the first white-fleshed nectarines of the season, rock-hard Arctic Stars that could have used a few more days on the tree.

Among growers from the region, Foothill Ranch of Corona sold bargain bags of small, juicy Kara mandarins, a rich-flavored late-season variety that has never succeeded commercially, along with Maui onions and mottled green Roly Poly squash.

Kelly Farms had sweet white Jubilee corn from Ontario. The fine display set out by Jose Jaime of Industry included large, crisp and meaty red peppers, hot green jalapenos, spinach, dill, chives and little purple chive flowers, good for flavoring egg, cheese and fish dishes.

The La Verne market, sponsored by the city, appears to be drawing good local support. After only a month of operation, it includes 12 produce, three flower and nursery and 12 prepared foods stalls.

La Verne farmers market, Bonita Avenue and D Street, Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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