Top 9 Foods Found Only at SoCal Farmers’ Markets (and Not in DC)

While I didn’t catch a glimpse of an avocado orchard, or even an avocado tree, I did find a farmers market, Local Harvest at Marine Stadium, on my last day in Long Beach, California. The first stall displayed all fruits and vegetables that I easily find at my neighborhood far mar: zucchini and onions and peaches.

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But then I looked to my left and saw jujubes. The vendor had a sign proclaiming unattainable health benefits (cancer prevention, Zen-filled life). I bought a half pound. Frankly, though, jujubes may grant me 109 years on earth, but they still taste like blah. Total blah. At first I thought they were dried chilies but then I thought, hey, a sickly sweet candy is named after the dried fruit so it must be sweet. ERRRR. <buzzer sounds> It tastes like absolutely nothing.


What a radical notion. Citrus fruit is not only in white cartons marked with styles of “some pulp,” but apparently grow on trees. In California.

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Dragon Fruit

Total alien fruit. Was this the punk rock cousin of an artichoke with its round shape and spiky leaves? No. It’s a beautiful fuchsia-fleshed fruit. The color, however, is more exciting than the taste.


There are some edibles out there that I have zero concept of how they grow. Nuts are one of them. Fresh almonds from the farmers market are particularly nutty and do have more flavor than their encased-in-bulk-bins selves.

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80P tells me of his high school days when he used to eat grapefruit daily. I find the sour fruit unappetizing. We get along so well.


Yup. It’s like the fucking Mediterranean in California. Lemons? Check.

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Mission Fig

So delicate. Soooo delicate. The vendor scared the shit out his customers with his warnings of how to treat the figs and how to basically eat them all for dinner that night. These little creatures need to be gently cuddled and therefore I was too nervous to purchase any. I did, however, buy a shit ton of dried figs (plus plums, cherries and raisins; dried peaches are gross.)

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Papaya Melon

Samples. Samples elevate a far mar shopping experience from a Target outing to a Nordstrom extravaganza. Please vendors, samples sell produce. How would I know how delicious this papaya melon thing is if I can’t taste it. Booo.


Alas. Avocados of all sizes, but still of the Haas variety, were featured here. Not that many samples, but I did steal a very ripe one for my plane ride the next day. I was the crazy girl smearing avocado chunks onto a bagel and cream cheese on board. Yes, I also sliced up a tomato. On board. For my bagel sandwich.

Also in SoCal
A Pocket of Sweetness
Artsy Guess the Photo of the Day
ISO: Avocado Orchard
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Artsy SoCal Photo of the Day

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  • Summer August 30, 2010  

    Not all grapefruit are created equal! Here in Florida, we get some that are extremely sweet. They’re not as sweet as an orange, of course, but both the ruby grapefruit and the Florida white are sweet enough to eat plain and are fantastic as juice. Interestingly, we’ve learned that the ugliest ones taste the best. The citrus fruits that look like they’re covered with black mildew are actually so sweet that the sugar has leeched through the skin and oxidized!

    I’m kind of surprised to see fresh citrus at the SoCal markets, though. Down here, we’re still months away from the citrus harvest. The trees have fruit, but the fruit is still dark green.

  • BS August 30, 2010  

    you see citrus EVERYWHERE in SF. My neighbors have a lime tree in their front yard and I really want to pilfer it. My friends have a loquat tree in their backyard in Oakland. WTF is a loquat! I never even heard of that.

  • tvff August 30, 2010  

    That’s a bummer about the taste on the dragonfruit. I saw that they had them in the Wegmans in Princeton yesterday and almost bought it on impulse.

  • Borracho August 30, 2010  

    I think dragon fruit is in the cactus family so while taste wise, it may not have lived up to the visual stimulation, any thoughts on substituting it in a nopalitas salad or even fruit salad and using the bright outside as a garnish or individual serving dish? The texture is interesting enough that it may add something to granitas when paired with a more vibrant taste

  • maids-in-cali August 30, 2010  

    did you get any flack from the security folks at the airport for the avocado or the tomato? When I brought apples in my bag one time their x-ray machines thought they were “a liquid” and when even when i told them that they were apples they made me unpack my bag and prove it to them. I was confused…. It was as if no one else had ever brought produce through security before.

  • Pingback: ISO: Avocado Orchard | Endless Simmer August 30, 2010  
  • gansie August 30, 2010  

    hmm. i didn’t. although one of the security guards kind of made fun of me for carrying a tomato. she (good natured-ly) asked if i was going to eat it like an apple. i didn’t want to tell her that i planned to slice it with a plastic knife once i got past security so i said “yes.”

    but those fuckers did steal my wine opener that i’ve had for 7 years! gurr!

  • dad gansie August 31, 2010  

    Oh hell a shame lost opener. How’d you get away with anything looking like a knife
    All the fruits looked good another shame they didn’t taste it
    What s a loquat , must an effin cousin to a comquat
    $2. Bag of gf great, did you bring home any for 80p??
    Glad you’re back home safe
    How were so Cal eggs?? Or didn’t bother with The salm scare

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  • MaryAlice September 28, 2011  

    ONLY Haas? What does THAT mean? Haas is the only avocado worth eating.

  • TL January 13, 2015  

    We just call the jujubes “dates.” I think they are an acquired taste. Next time try some of our Mexican cuisine. It contains many of the ingredients listed above, lots of avocados, tomatoes, limes, lemons, etc.

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