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Don't Forget the Frosting

Head to the market this spring for flavorful produce

 

A pile of seedless mandarins lie in and around a basket located at a farmer's market in Irvine, just 28 miles away from Biola's campus. These mandarins, being sold by local farmers for $2.50lb, are among the many home grown items available every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Click the photo for directions to the farmer's market in Irvine. | Anna Frost/THE CHIMES

Freshly picked strawberries from a roadside stand can only be described as plump, sweet and juicy. In direct contrast, supermarket strawberries may be bright red and look succulent, but they are full of lies. The majority of the time I am disappointed by a watery, almost strawberry-flavored fruit and regret the purchase. As a Southern California native, strawberries are my go-to example, yet this same principle can be applied to most produce in grocery stores across the country. This is both unfortunate and unforgivable.

Luckily, there is a solution in our backyards — almost literally. Farmers markets have rapidly sprouted up in every neighborhood, from rural to urban, in the past several years. As the movement for local food grows, so do the markets. Led by fearless business people who organize farmers, artisans, travelling restaurateurs and musicians into one cohesive event, farmers markets are a bustling hub where one can get delicious food while supporting local economy.

Somehow our society has decided that it is worth our resources to ship any produce we desire from halfway across the world when it is out of season in our region. As impatient creatures and self-proclaimed masters of nature, we demand produce to be picked well before its time in a faraway land. Refrigerated, fumigated and artificially ripened, it is shipped across the globe simply because it is possible. The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it sounds — we have turned into a generation of Veruca Salts.

Yet the pears are hard and tasteless, the plums are sour and the avocados lack richness — regardless of how long you put them in a brown paper bag. What use are fruits and vegetables if no one wants to eat them? Mealy hothouse tomatoes grown in Brazil will never compare to the firm, sweetly acidic tomatoes from a couple towns over.

Flavor aside, produce that is not allowed to finish ripening naturally has fewer vitamins and minerals and is therefore less beneficial to our health. It is ironic that in the midst of trying to fix people’s diets, our country peddles pounds of food that lacks essential nutrition. Just as there is a proper time for everything in life, summer is for peaches, and beets belong to winter. Although your region may not have the fruit you crave available for a few more months, the wait is worth it.

If you think that you prefer chips to cherries or brownies to broccoli, try them again from a local farmers market. Produce picked the same day that it is brought to the market tastes extraordinarily different than produce that is coated with food-grade wax after spending a month in cold storage.

Be adventurous and try new things. Many farmers often have different varieties of fruits or vegetables that are not sold commercially, yet will be some of the best foods you have ever eaten. Of course, for college students, the ultimate perk is that farmers sell high quality produce for a low price since the middle man is eliminated.

God gave us food as a wonderful gift and the colorful bounty of produce found at these markets serves as more than enough proof. Do not hesitate to explore — there are many farmers markets in the area surrounding Biola throughout the week. I hope that one works with your busy schedule — early May offers up some of Southern California’s best fruit to the harvest.

With all these options within reach, it seems almost foolish not to put off a bit of homework in favor of picking up some of nature’s sweet treats one of these fine May days.
 


City

Address/Cross Streets

Day/Time

Seasonality

Norwalk

Alondra Boulevard, in between Pioneer Boulevard and Studebaker Road

Norwalk, CA 90650

Tuesday

9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

All year

Brea

Brea Boulevard and Birch Street

Brea, CA 92821

Tuesday

4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

All year

Fullerton

West Valencia Drive and Euclid Street

Fullerton, CA 92832

Wednesday

8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

All year

Whittier

Greenleaf Avenue & Philadelphia Street

Whittier, CA 90602

Wednesday

5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

April - September

Fullerton

Wilshire Avenue and Pomona Avenue

Fullerton, CA 92832

Thursday

4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

April - October

Uptown Whittier

Philadelphia Street and Bright Avenue

Whittier, CA 90601

Friday

8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

All year

Huntington Beach

Pier Plaza:

Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway

Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Friday

1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

All year

Irvine

Campus Drive and Bridge Road

Irvine, CA 92617

Saturday

8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

All year

Buena Park

La Palma Avenue and Stanton Avenue

Buena Park, CA 90620

Saturday

9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

All year


Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Nicole

    I have been on the lookout for farmers' markets in the area - thank you so much for this info! Extremely helpful! May 7, 2013

  2. Anna Frost

    You're welcome! I haven't been to all of them yet, but if you can get down to Irvine on a Saturday the UCI market is so worth it! Beautiful produce and a wide variety of vendors. May 9, 2013

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