Discovering new fruits and vegetables at the Farmers’ Markets is always fun, and this past Wednesday I came across dragon fruit (also known as pitaya and pitahaya), a fruit native to Central and South America. The fruit has a bright pink, think, slightly scaly skin with long green shoots coming out of it, and is about the size of a large eggplant. It is hard to miss, largely due to its color and because you have probably never seen anything like it before. The flesh inside ranges from lavender to bright purple, with black seeds that look similar to sesame seeds. It tastes like a mild kiwi, and the flesh has a similar texture to a kiwi. It also has a light, slightly watery, refreshing taste. To eat dragon fruit, slice it lengthwise into sections and eat flesh, not the skin. Bill Coleman at the Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets will have Dragon Fruit for about three more weeks.
Pomegranates are now hitting all of the markets. Laura Ramirez has white pomegranates (also called blondes or sweet pinks) at her stand. They are less acidic and have a softer seed than the common variety, the Wonderful. White pomegranates are an early variety that will be available for about three more weeks. Ramirez also has some unusual varieties of avocados for the next few weeks. The Mexicola is a rootstock variety of avocado and you can even eat its peel. It is a smaller avocado that does not always have a seed. It has a nutty flavor and lower oil content than the Haas. Seedling avocados are similar to the Zutano variety. They have less oil and a lighter taste than Mexicolas.
Flora Bella Farm at the Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Markets has fresh Mission olives, perfect for pickling or preserving. They will be in season for about three more weeks.
October 24 and 31, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Since the chili roaster was such a big hit at the Pico Market, it will be coming to the Wednesday Market for two weeks only. This will be your last chance to stock up on fresh roasted Farmers’ Market chilies. Eat them fresh or freeze them for fresh chilies all winter long.
October 27, 9 a.m. – noon
There will be free pumpkin decorating for kids at the Pico Market. Special prize for kids who come in costume.
October 31, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The annual “All You Can Carry Pumpkin Patch” at the Wednesday Market. Be sure to arrive early, as the pumpkins will run out! The Pumpkin Carry costs $5 for as many pumpkins as you can carry.