December 5, 2012 |
After moving to Los Angeles from his native New York eight years ago, writer-director Marshall Lewy spent many weekends hanging out at his neighborhood farmers market in Silver Lake. He became intrigued by the idea of a sprawling metropolis where farmers markets come to life, bringing in fresh produce and unusual characters from farms that surround the nation's second-largest city. The experience planted the seed for "California Solo," an independent movie about a former British pop rocker played by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle ("Trainspotting" and "The Full Monty")
November 30, 2012 |
At their best, clementines are among the finest of citrus fruits, easy to peel, seedless, with firm but juicy flesh and a rich, well-balanced flavor. However, they can vary dramatically in quality, depending on the exact variety, the season, where they're grown, how they're grown and how they're packed and stored. For anyone who has fallen in love with this fruit only to be disappointed later, it is worth understanding these factors before shopping, whether at grocery stores or at farmers markets.
November 17, 2012 |
OROSI, Calif. - Easy to peel and nearly seedless, with tender flesh and tangy mandarin flavor, satsumas are one of the most popular farmers market fruits around Thanksgiving. Farmers like them too, especially growers in cold, low-lying areas, because they ripen early, before frosts usually strike, and the tree is exceptionally cold-hardy for citrus. Satsumas do need some chill to develop full color and sweetness, however, and because of the unusually hot fall, the current harvest started a week or two late.
November 9, 2012 |
While farmers markets have proliferated in recent years, demand for fresh, local, seasonal produce has increased even faster. Several types of entrepreneurs have arisen to satisfy this demand, including specialty produce distributors, shopping services and stores that emulate the farmers market experience, such as Atwater Village Farm . One intriguing variation is the Produce Project, which buys from farmers markets and sells at "pop-up farm...
November 3, 2012 |
Wearing round glasses, a buttoned vest and blue wingtip oxfords, Shaheen Sadeghi can't walk down Anaheim's Center Street Promenade without being greeted by every shop owner on this three-block stretch of newly opened restaurants and boutiques. He's the developer who transformed what was once a row of lackluster office buildings into his vision of retro-American retail opportunity, complete with all the telltales of new urbanism: baroque logos, penny tiles, wainscoting and Rockwellian facades.
November 2, 2012 |
When the Stokes Purple sweet potato shows up in markets next week, it's hard to say what will be more intriguing: its look, with dramatically deep purple skin and flesh, its flavor or the mystery of its origins. It was discovered in the United States by Mike Sizemore, 61, who grew up on a farm in North Carolina, the nation's largest sweet potato-producing state. He said in a phone interview, speaking in a delicious Southern drawl, that he worked for 30 years catching car thieves for the state government before retiring in 2003.
October 20, 2012 |
VENTUCOPA, Calif. - Pistachios are available from storage year-round, but for the next week or so, ultra-seasonal green nuts, freshly harvested and still encased in their hulls, will appear at farmers markets. Moister, softer and sweeter than regular pistachios, they have their own flavor that hints at citrus and eucalyptus. They are sold by Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. , owned by the Zannon family, who started last Sunday to harvest 400 acres in the remote, pristine Cuyama Valley, midway between Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.
October 12, 2012 |
REEDLEY, Calif. -- Raisins are the neglected icon of California agriculture, perceived as an old-fashioned industrial commodity, devoid of seasonal sizzle. At farmers markets, however, it's well worth searching out special varieties, freshly harvested and processed by small growers. One of the top grape vendors at local farmers markets, Linda and Brian Raphael of Apkarian Family Farm, produce high-quality raisins in small quantities, and they show up personally to sell them. On Monday, in anticipation of rain, they were pulling in the last of their trays from the drying yard in Reedley, in Fresno County, where almost three-quarters of the state's raisin crop is produced.
October 5, 2012 |
WASCO, Calif. - California's almond harvest, which takes place from August through October, is a dusty, noisy affair, vast in scale and fascinating in its blend of agricultural and industrial processes. Sixty years ago California grew 100,000 acres of almonds, 85% of them in the northern Central Valley, from Madera to Butte counties. Mechanization, increased irrigation in the southern San Joaquin Valley (at least until recent water cutbacks) and booming exports have boosted production, and California now raises some 760,000 acres of almonds, its third largest farm commodity, after dairy and grapes.
September 29, 2012 |
Little known not so long ago, Asian pears have become very popular, particularly at farmers markets. You can find as many as nine or 10 different varieties. Some late-season favorites include: Shinseiki, which has a very crisp texture and a flavor like honey, walnuts and flowers; 20th Century, another crisp pear that tastes like a sparkling combination of apples and citrus; Kosui, which has a vanilla undertone; and Chojuro, a buttery Japanese pear with a caramel sweetness. How to choose: Asian pears feel hard as rocks, but they actually bruise quite easily.