While the sun still shines in Santa Monica, the nights are getting cooler and baseball season is winding down, telltale signs that the seasons are changing and summer has come to an end. Fall is truly upon us now, and the market is filled with the beautiful gold, burgundy and burnt orange colors of autumn. The last of the peaches, stone fruit, strawberries and summer fruits are dwindling, while apples, Asian pears and grapes are in full swing. Spend some time strolling down the aisles of the Farmers’ Market and you will notice some new and notable produce.
In addition to all of her delicious avocados, Laura Ramirez’s stand also has blonde pomegranates. They are lighter in color and milder than the standard Wonderful pomegranate and the seeds are softer and less acidic. The blonde pomegranate also stains less than the Wonderful. Laura also has a Mexicola avocado that is small, shiny and smooth skinned. It has an edible skin when ripe and a slight anise flavor.
Jujubes, or Chinese dates, are the size of a small apple. They start out greenish yellow in color and turn a deep brown or red as they ripen. The skin is edible, but the small pit inside is not. They have a crunchy, spongy flesh and are sweeter when ripe. You can eat them raw or cooked or leave them out to dry. The jujube has been used medicinally for centuries and is also high in vitamin C. Weiser Family Farms and Burkart Farms grow jujubes.
California gooseberries, unlike their Eastern counterparts, are small and perfectly round with shiny bright skin ranging from green to a deep yellow when fully ripe. Gooseberries come fresh to the market still covered in a delicate, tissue paper covering, similar to that found on a tomatillo, called a cape. They have a unique flavor like a cross between an apricot and a sweet yellow tomato and are very crunchy and pop in your mouth. They are very rare and usually used in desserts, but can be eaten alone. Get your gooseberries at Tanaka Farms at the Wednesday market while they last!
For the first time ever Weiser Family Farms has fresh crosnes. Crosnes, also called a Chinese artichoke, grow wild in Northern China and are considered a sign of good luck in parts of Asia. They were established in France in the nineteenth century and named Crosnes after the village where they were first introduced. The crosnes plant is in the mint family and the edible parts of the plant are small white tubers. They can be eaten raw or cooked like a potato. Welcome to autumn and enjoy exploring new tastes.