Fortuna Certified Farmers Market, Fortuna, Calif.

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007

Fortuna market produce on the beach
farmers market purchases photographed on the beach in Redwoods National Park, north of Eureka


This morning, as I drove in intermittent rain through the towering redwoods from Klamath, where I stayed last night, towards Fortuna (a few miles south of Eureka), the local public radio station I was listening to was in the midst of a pledge drive. One listener who had just contributed challenged “all other farmers who are going to skip the Fortuna farmers market today because of the rain” to kick in, as well.

Here, on the rugged north coast of California, about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, it rains a lot in winter. With that season about to begin, the market will be winding down in the next several weeks. I don’t know how many farmers stayed away from the market today, fearing rain. But it was mostly sunny by this afternoon — a fine day for a market for the half a dozen or so farmers who showed up.

– Mark Thompson

12th Street & L.
Fortuna, Calif.
Tuesday, 3-6 p.m., May-Oct.

slide show

What I Bought

Nellis pears and apples
(clockwise from top left) Nellis Pear, gala apple, unnamed red apple, Asian pear
Price: $2/lb.

Is that a weird, prehistoric-looking pear variety or what? I thought the farmer who sold it to me called it an Ellis. But I searched the Internet for information on a variety with that name and came up with nothing. I did, however, find the Nellis variety. None of the photos of the Nellis that I saw looked quite like this one, but they were close. If this is a Nellis, it’s known as a winter variety that grows well in the Pacific Northwest. Skip Parodi, manager of Jelich Ranch in the San Francisco Bay Area, calls it one of his favorite varieties. “It’s the ugliest pear you’ve ever seen, but it’s like eating candy,” he says. Personally, I wouldn’t rank it among the best of the eating pears. This pear was very firm and crunchy, with a grainy texture and a slightly astringent taste. I’d guess that you could make a good, spicy pear cider with this variety. The Nellis is also said to be good for baking. Anybody out their know if this is, in fact, a Nellis? Let me know, at

purple cabbage and artichoke
purple cabbage, artichoke, brussel sprouts
Price: $1/lb. cabbage
$.75/each for artichokes

peppers and garlic
(left to right) tomatoes, Walla Walla sweet onion, garlic, snacking pepper
Price: $2/lb. for tomatoes
$.25/each snacking peppers

lettuce, arugula, salad mix