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The Encino Scene

The spirited crowing of Bruce the rooster, the mascot of the Kendor egg farm of Van Nuys, serenades visitors to the Encino Farmers Market, the largest one in the San Fernando Valley.

Customers were crowing too Sunday when they tasted samples of the Honey Crisp stand’s luscious Snow Queen white nectarines, speckled by sugar spots, with a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, and intense, lingering flavor. The grower, Art Lange of Reedley also offered exquisitely ripe May Diamond yellow nectarines, Burgundy plums, legendary Moorpark apricots and very sweet Flavor Supreme Pluots, one of the new plum-apricot hybrids.

Local berries are at peak. Gutierrez Farms of Santa Maria laid out a stunning checkerboard of punnets of blackberries and red raspberries. Harry’s Berries of Oxnard had Seascape and Chandler strawberries; in addition, the stand featured edamame, fresh soybeans ready to be boiled and salted, Japanese-style.

Francisco Zamorra of Vista sold purslane, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and several kinds of cucumbers and squashes. A Hmong grower from Clovis, Yang Thao, displayed 2-foot-long beans, bitter melons, Thai chiles and Asian pumpkins; off to the side, he sold the greens from these plants to be steamed or sauteed. He also had Chinese eggplants, bok choy, gai lan and saluyot, a mint-like Filipino green eaten with fish.

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Weiser Family Farms of Edison offered a veritable United Nations of potatoes: yellow Russian Banana, pink Finnish Rose and nutty-flavored French Crescent fingerlings--also small purple Peruvians and big Yukon Golds. So many potatoes, so little time!

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Encino Farmers Market, 17400 Victory Blvd., between Balboa Boulevard and White Oak Avenue, Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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