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Front Burner | FARMERS MARKETS

Palisades Debut

September 20, 2000

Long used to driving to Santa Monica for farmers markets, Pacific Palisades residents rejoiced at the opening of their own market on Sunday. Their delight may be short-lived, however: local authorities will decide after four weeks whether to extend the market's permit, taking into account the opinions of nearby merchants.

At last week's market, Larry Giles of Cahuilla Mountain Farm displayed splendid organic produce from Aguanga: Amish Moon and Stars watermelons (with distinctive yellow speckling over a green background), sugary Amish cantaloupes, 2-foot-long Armenian cucumbers (with thin, striped skin and small seeds), Moscovich tomatoes (Russian heirlooms well adapted to Cahuilla's 3,200-foot elevation) and intriguing Zypher squash (a hybrid with the nutty flavor of crookneck and the texture of zucchini, yellow at the stem end, green on the bottom).

Scarborough Farm of Oxnard sold gorgeous veggies: large, tight radicchio, pale frisee, yellow Sunshine carrots, sweet Candy Cane striped beets and premium salad mixes, including mesclun with flowers.

Sherrill Orchards of Arvin had sweet, slightly tannic Early Foothill pomegranates, and freshly squeezed, refreshingly mild pomegranate juice (made by a secret method, according to Donna Sherrill).

Gina Bernard sold juicy Valencia oranges from her family's ranch in Valley Center as well as Eureka lemons and Star Ruby grapefruit. Doris Reed of Lilac Valley Orchards also carried fine Valencias from Valley Center along with a line of jams made from her own fruit.

Fresh figs from the Central Valley are winding down, but Shaun Rosendahl of Fresno had ripe Kadotas, with thick green skins and sweet amber pulp; MB Farms of Raisin City had green-skinned, red-fleshed Adriatics, the best-tasting of commercially available varieties when fully ripe. The MB stand also carried purple-black Fantasy grapes, attractive but bland, and large Red Globe grapes, which have seeds but also a bit more flavor.

Pacific Palisades farmers market, Swarthmore Avenue north of Sunset Boulevard, Sundays 8 a.m. to noon.

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