Food

The time is ripe for figs, apricots and peaches at Pasadena Victory Park

The Pasadena Victory Park farmers market, founded 25 years ago, continues to be large, well-run and focused on produce.

This week, Mike Taylor, a backyard grower from West Covina, will have luscious Adriatic and Mission figs from the breba crop (borne on last year's wood), which is earlier and smaller in quantity than the main summer crop; the fruits are larger and more moist. The Pudwills, who sell at many markets as well as this one, also have breba Mission figs. As always with figs, they are best when raggedy ripe.

Sydney Spencer, who took over a grove in Pauma Valley from her grandmother Shirley, displays ripe, near-ripe and green Hass avocados in separate boxes -- a great way to keep fruits from being bruised by shoppers' fingers.

Now that we're well into June, it's getting easier to find peaches with real flavor, such as June Lady, a 50-year-old yellow-fleshed variety with a traditional balance of sweetness and acidity, which Regier Family Farms of Dinuba will be selling this week.

Don't be put off by the cracks and blemishes in the Blenheim apricots grown by Eric and Helle Todd in Santa Paula, which have extraordinarily rich, concentrated flavor. Their crop this year is small, but Helle, who also sells water hyacinths, plans to bring some to the Santa Monica Wednesday, Thousand Oaks and Hollywood markets.

Among the rarities grown by Steve and Robin Smith of Mud Creek Ranch in Santa Paula, perhaps the oddest is an orange-skinned and orange-fleshed mutation of Eureka lemon discovered 15 years ago in a Ventura County grove. Despite its coloration, it tastes just like a lemon. The Smiths only have one tree of this prodigy, so they've been bringing just a few fruits to sell at Santa Monica Wednesday and Hollywood.

Pasadena (Victory Park) farmers market, Sierra Madre Boulevard between Paloma Street and Washington Boulevard, Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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