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Market Report
Laguna Beach, Calif.
August 25, 2007

The Market:
Laguna Beach Farmers Market
Lumberyard parking lot next door to City Hall
Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon
(714) 573-0374

Market-Goer: Mark Thompson

I had not visited this market since December 15, 2001. Back then, I wasn't terribly impressed with a market that I thought should have been bigger and better patronized, given its setting.

There was a bigger crowd this time, and a better selection of farmers -- befitting a farmers market sitting within about an hour's drive of the sunny highlands of northern San Diego County, where there are still a number of small  ranches, farms, orchards and nurseries holding out against encroaching urban sprawl from the north and south.

The dry, brown hillside looming over the market site is a testament to the record low rainfall of less than 5 inches over the past year. Hopefully, enough rain will fall this winter to turn that hillside green, but not so much that it will send it, and the houses perched on its brink, sliding towards the sea, as sometimes happens here.





What I Bought:


Pluot varieties including Dinosaur Egg (upper right), Flavor Queen (lower middle) and Flavor King (lower right)

Pluots aren't my favorite stone fruit, but they sure are pretty. A cross between a plum and apricot, with the former accounting for about 75 percent of the fruit's parentage, the pluot was developed in the late 20th century by fruit breeder Floyd Zaiger. 

Floyd, his wife Betty, two sons and a daughter are a "family organized to improve fruit worldwide," proclaims the Web site of the family's Modesto, Calif.-based business, Zaiger's Genetics. The company is renowned worldwide for its fruit varieties, including new cross-bred fruit, some of whose names the company has trademarked including aprium, nectaplum, peacotum, nectarcot in addition to the pluot.

Price: $3/lb. for pluots
$.75/grapefruit
$5/lb. for passionfruit

 

pluots (above) and sapotes, passionfruit, kumquats and Marsh Ruby grapefruit taking it in at Laguna Beach

passion fruit, Marsh Ruby grapefruit, kumquats, sapotes

Compared with new-fangled pluots, the Marsh Ruby grapefruit is downright ancient for a modern hybrid, at nearly 100 years old. The variety was released in 1913, the first pink variety of the old standard Marsh grapefruit. The Marsh Ruby is reportedly "the ancestor of all pink grapefruits grown today."

Recipes:
Two grapefruit recipes
Avocado-pink grapefruit salad
Poached kumquats



wax beans (left) and Blue Lake (right)

Recipes: 
Nine green bean  recipes

Price: $1.50/lb. for Blue Lake beans
$3/lb. for yellow and purple beans



Tomatoes and tomatillos

Recipes:
Tips on choosing and using tomatoes
tomato recipes

Price: $1.50-3/lb. for tomatoes
$1/basket for tomatillos



seven kinds of summer squash

Recipes:
Six ways to use zucchini

Price: $1-2/lb.



bell peppers, poblano chile and jalapenos

Recipes: 
Jalapeno jelly
Jalapeno and cilantro soup



Tuscan kale, lettuce, leeks, torpedo onions

Recipes:
Seven kale recipes from around the world

Price: $5/three kale, lettuce, leeks
$1/lb. for onions


Copyright 2007 Seasonal Chef