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Front Burner | Farmers Markets

Exotic Citrus Gets the Juices Flowing

January 23, 2002|DAVID KARP | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There's always a near mini-riot when Jerry Dimitman and his sons, Robert and Steven, show up at the Alhambra farmers market with Fallbrook-grown exotic citrus.

Last Sunday, customers pushed and clawed for three varieties of pummelo, the giant parent of the grapefruit: white-fleshed, pyramidal Sutters, mild, sweet and very slightly bitter; spectacular Big Wongs, colossal pear-shaped fruits especially sought by the Chinese for their New Year celebration (Feb. 12 this year); and juicy, green-fleshed Sarawaks, which have an intense sweet-tart, lemon-lime flavor.

Raul and Nora Rios, also from Fallbrook, had superb Booth and White cherimoyas, Nagami kumquats, ripe yellow Bearss limes, white-fleshed guavas (including one three-lobed specimen that resembled Mickey Mouse) and the world's best dried Fuyu persimmons, deep orange, leathery and very sweet, with an irresistible caramel-pumpkin flavor. Jose Avitura of Walker Farms, from Exeter, had pink-fleshed Cara Cara navels, berry-flavored Moro blood oranges, smooth-skinned Meyer lemons and Dancy mandarins with classic "wild" tangerine taste.

Doug Adair brought excellent Medjool, Halawy and dry Deglet Noor dates from Thermal. Billy Mua of Fresno displayed bok choy, rapini and winter melon, and long stalks of sugar cane, which he peeled and sectioned for purchasers. Vilma Causey of Kingsburg sold Asian pears, kabocha squash and crunchy, pink-fleshed, slightly pungent watermelon radishes.

From Ontario, Maria Cabral brought good broccoli, cabbage and slender carrots. Li-Wen Liao sold Chinese broccoli, green beans, garlic, bags of dried, salted daikon and containers of chopped mustard greens. Paul and May Hong sold exceptionally fresh and tasty eggs and chickens, from Silkie (black-skinned and black-boned) and La Belle Rouge breeds, raised in Newberry Springs.

*

Alhambra farmers market, Bay State and Monterey streets; Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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