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A rare taste of medlars at the Santa Monica farmers market

Medlar

The medlar, a legendary historic fruit with the flavor and texture of spicy applesauce, will make a cameo appearance Wednesday at the Santa Monica farmers market.

"The stars have finally aligned," said Craig Ruggless of Winnetka Farms, who harvested 180 pounds of the fruit on Christmas Eve from an orchard in a remote area north of Tehachapi. He had hoped to sell at the market the last two weeks, but torrential rains turned the roads into rivers.

Ruggless will be offering the fruit at $8 a pound, probably just at the one market Wednesday. Some of the crop has already undergone the peculiar ripening process called bletting, required to turn medlars soft and edible; firm fruits will need to be bletted, ideally by placing them stems down on wooden trays, not touching each other, and storing them in a cool, humid location for up to several weeks. The medlar may be the ultimate slow food, and that's part of the appeal.

-- David Karp

Photo: David Karp

 
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