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Farmer’s Market Report: What’s Fresh at Pico

Have you been to the Pico Farmers’ Market lately?  Farmers have filled their stands with the tastes and colors of the season.  With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving fast approaching, take a walk around the Pico Farmers’ Market for wonderful seasonal finds.

Fresno Evergreen grows a huge variety of Asian vegetables.  Their stand is filled with vegetables, many that you may have never even seen before.  They have green and purple kohlrabi, a member of the turnip family that has a spiky, bulbous, turnip-like stem.  It has a mild, sweet taste and can be eaten raw or steamed or used in a stir-fry.  It can also be boiled or mashed like a potato.  Bitter melon is a bitter-tasting vegetable and looks like a bright, bumpy cucumber.  Fresno Evergreen has both bitter melon and bitter melon leaves.  It is usually seeded and the interior membrane discarded before eating.  It is used in soup and stir-fry.  Bitter melon is also known for medicinal purposes.  They also grow sinqua (Chinese okra), jicama, daikon (Chinese radish), yams and red, yellow and green Swiss chard.

Suncoast Farms has fresh, sun-dried beans.  They have lima, speckled limas, yellow and pinquito beans.  They are conveniently shelled and bagged taking out nearly all of the work!  Each bag of beans also contains a recipe.  In the future they plan on growing black and fava beans, too.

Peach season is rapidly coming to an end.  Sweet Peach Farms will have Last Chance peaches for a couple more weeks.  Weiser Family Farms will have Halloween peaches for a couple more weeks, as well.  Harry Nicholas continues to have several varieties of grapes: Autumn Royal, black seedless, Ruby, red seedless and Crispy, red seeded.  John Hurley will have flame grapes for about one or two more weeks.

Rodriguez Ranch has vivid red and orange pumpkin trees that will make a dazzling centerpiece and add a burst of color to any table.  Pumpkin trees look like tiny shrunken bright red or orange pumpkins clustered on a stem.  Pumpkin trees are actually related to the eggplant and originated in Australia ten years ago.  They gained popularity in this country about three or four years ago and are grown seasonally for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  In addition to the pumpkin trees, Rodriguez Ranch grows pepper.  While bred for ornamental purposes, you could potentially slice the peppers in salads.  Rodriguez Ranch will have these plants through Thanksgiving and they are only $4 per bunch.

The Santa Monica Pico Farmers’ Market is located at Virginia Avenue Park at Pico and Cloverfield.  It is open Saturdays from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.

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