August 9, 2013 |
In gorgeously striped Panachee figs, which are being harvested commercially for the first time this month, the beauty is more than skin deep. Ripe specimens have super-sweet, jam-like pulp, with a counterbalancing acidity uncommon in other varieties and an intense berry flavor. The spotlight on Panachée has been a long time coming. The variety was first described by that name, which means "variegated," in France in 1826, but similar types were noted as far back as the 17th century.
December 14, 2012 |
The great advantage of Southern California farmers markets - year-round availability of fresh, local produce - can sometimes backfire by obscuring the seasonal rhythm of crops and growing areas. For example, carrots, grapefruits, nuts and avocados are always available from somewhere but not always at their best; it's up to shoppers to learn the difference. Grown from the Mexico to the Oregon borders, carrots often look good but are starchy and vegetal in summer; the tenderest, crispest, sweetest ones come in winter, when the roots naturally accumulate nutrients.
June 7, 2013 |
This week may be the best of the year for high-flavored fruit that's worth a special trip to local farmers markets, because it's almost never available elsewhere. Start with boysenberries, whose rich, complex, sweet-tart flavor reflects their ancestry, part raspberry, part trailing blackberry. To be at their best, they must be picked dead-ripe, when they're too soft and perishable for supermarkets, and even at farmers market just a few vendors take the trouble. Look for containers in which all or most of the berries are deep purple, indicating full ripeness; less ripe berries are better for baking or making preserves.
December 21, 2012 |
Mandarins at their best are the noblest of citrus, with intense, complex aromatics and fascinating varietal identities. Two clementine-tangelo crosses prized for their rich flavor, Page and Lee, are now in peak season and well worth searching out. Page long been a favorite at farmers markets, and recently commercial growers have caught on and planted them on a larger scale. Its half-sister, Lee, is rare in California but arguably has even more extraordinary flavor. Page originated in Florida in 1942 as a cross of Algerian clementine and Minneola tangelo and was introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1963.
April 5, 2013 |
April is generally the least abundant month for locally grown fruits, with nothing like the profusion of stone fruits in summer, apples in autumn and citrus in winter. But there's still plenty of great choices at farmers markets, particularly for shoppers alert to the rhythm of seasons and growing areas. Strawberries , near peak now from San Diego to Santa Maria, are the dominant spring fruit in their ubiquity and mass appeal. Experienced shoppers look for berries red all the way to the top and richly perfumed.
May 17, 2013 |
Among the most intriguing May peaches are three patented by Alan and Lori Asdoorian of Kingsburg, whose century-old Island Farms lies between two branches of the Kings River, southeast of Fresno. Because of the short period from bloom to harvest, May peaches naturally tend to be small, with only moderately sweet, clingstone flesh and a susceptibility to split pits. But early-season varieties can be lucrative for breeders and farmers, who have striven to find improved selections.
July 16, 2010 |
Table grapes are readily available year-round at supermarkets, and if you're just looking for a juicy, healthy snack, you can do perfectly well there. But if you're looking for grapes with flavor, the best source is farmers markets, where the season for table grapes from the earliest part of the main growing area, the southern San Joaquin Valley, has just started, and vendors increasingly are offering specialty varieties to appeal to diverse tastes. PHOTOS: At the farmers market.
June 20, 2001 |
Many venues call themselves farmers markets, but California's 360-odd certified farmers markets are part of a program established by the state in 1977 to allow farmers to sell directly to consumers. The first certified market in the Southland opened in Gardena on June 23, 1979. There are now 107 markets in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The agricultural commissioner of each county certifies growers and markets.
April 14, 1999 |
Few farmers' markets stay open after dark, but the new Eagle Rock Friday market, at Merton and Caspar avenues, runs from 5 to 9 p.m. "People like to come here after work and dinner for entertainment," says the manager, Van Nuys egg and poultry producer Ken Arno. One of the joys of farmers' markets is finding backyard growers with unusual produce.
July 23, 1989 |
WHAT'S SO SUPER about the supermarket, after all? One certainly begins to wonder when entering the agora-like milieu of Southern California's numerous Certified Farmers' Markets. The available wares might not be as uniform or as skillfully stacked as those found in the produce section of more conventional markets, but neither are they waxed, color-treated, nor long in the tooth.