Temecula (Old Town)
6th and Front St.
Sat., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
600 Eucalyptus Ave.
Sat., 7:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Market Notes: Both of these markets, separated
by about 20 miles of the rocky mountainous terrain of northern San
Diego County, are excellent showcases for the small farmers and
fruit growers who are spread throughout the region. Each of
the dozens of distinctive valleys and canyons squeezed between these
mountain ranges have unique microclimates and some of them -- at the
right elevation and facing in just the right direction to catch both
the full sun and the cooling ocean breeze -- are perfect for growing
subtropical fruit from Central and South America. Thus, I have
come today for a visit to both markets -- first Vista, then a drive
through the backcountry via the Pala Indian reservation, to Temecula
-- in search of subtropical fruit. Alas, I'm a bit too
early. The only sapotes I find are the green ones shown at
left, which aren't bad even this green, though they aren't quite as
good as the soft, custardy yellow sapotes that will begin to
hit the market in just a few weeks, or so one grower tells me.
There are, however, plenty of cherimoyas on hand and some loquats,
Temecula farmers market
Vista farmers market
Mark Thompson, publisher of this Web site
What I Bought:
always thought sapotes had to be yellow before they were edible. But
these were quite good within a day or two after I brought them home, even
though they were still bright green on the outside.
Price: 3 for $1
This variety, the fruit grower at the Vista market from whom I
bought them, assured me, is the best cherimoya on the earth.
The University of California has said so itself, the grower
insisted. They're called Ortons. They were
excellent, indeed. But I've had some fabulous booths and
bays this year and so I would hesitate to place the Orton on a
These were discolored and/or very small. So this whole
bunch, plus two others that my wife ate before I could
photograph them, cost just
Price: $2 for a large bag of No. 2
Price: $1.50/approx. one-pound bag
A sizeable bag of these babies (amounting to about twice as many carrots as
are pictured here) cost just $1. Note the pencil hiding
in the carrot pile, which gives some sense of their size.