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Food and Dining

The Best of the UCLA Farmers Market

The UCLA community gathered in Bruin Plaza for the third UCLA Farmers Market of the year on Tuesday. Food blogger Amy Giroux stopped by the market to discover the best farmer’s market picks this autumn. To make the decision, she talked to the market’s sellers and considered factors such as price, perishability and taste. Read on for her top five picks:

  1. Fresh strawberries are a tasty treat that cannot be enjoyed at UCLA’s dining halls. A basket is $3, or three baskets for $7. Though the baskets are smaller than the $3 strawberries at Ralphs, you’re paying a little extra for home-grown and organic berries.
  2. Almond products. These are a great study snack. On Tuesday, seller “Fat Uncle Farms” had plenty of types on offer: seasoned almonds, almond butters and raw almonds. Flavors included ass kick’n ginger, cinnamon, Cajun, honey roasted, sea salt, and honey coconut. The owner, Kirk, said his favorite combination was the honey coconut and the cajun. If you’re looking to save money, get the fresh almonds and season them at home. One liberal scoop is priced at $5 or two scoops for $8. To make almonds with homemade seasoning, buy the almonds raw and first soak them in water for 15 minutes. Season while wet (for maximum flavor absorption), and roast in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour. Seasonings can be savory or sweet — make use of your spice cabinet! My favorite kind of almonds are cinnamon-roasted almonds.
  3. In-season fruit. The supreme treat is the fresh persimmons in season for the fall-winter. Though slightly pricier than the persimmons at Ralphs or Trader Joe’s, the quality and sweetness of the fruit is incomparable.
  4. The Autumn Lady peach, the very last peach of the season from California, is a favorite of Farmers Market sellers Robert and Maria, a couple who has been in the business for 22 years and were at UCLA for their second Farmers Market on Tuesday. When asked why it was his favorite, Robert said it was because once the last of the Autumn Ladies were gone, he could go on vacation and close up the orchard until pruning in January. But I can attest that the peach’s sweet, juicy taste really does make it a gem among autumnal fruits.
  5. Apartment dwellers will appreciate the fresh vegetables, all offered at either $2 per pound or $2 per bunch. Vegetables on offer include fresh kale, celeries, cauliflower, Romaine lettuce and cucumbers.

Do you visit the UCLA Farmers Market? What are your top five Farmers Market picks for autumn?

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