While the weather has careened in the last week from broiling to chilly and sodden and back to warm -- and summer produce, such as peaches, peppers and eggplants, continues to be offered at farmers markets -- a change is in the air, independent of the temperature. We're seeing more and more typically autumnal crops, such as pears, apples, squash, chestnuts, pumpkins, pomegranates and even the first few persimmons.
Especially worth searching out is the most celebrated and luscious of pears, Comice, which originated in the Loire Valley in 1849. In the United States, most Comices are raised around Medford, in southern Oregon, for the gift-fruit market; they are hardly grown in Southern California, but Jeffrey Rieger of Penryn, a relic of a formerly flourishing pear district in the Sierra foothills, will bring his fruit to next Wednesday's Santa Monica farmers market.
Photo: Comice pears. Credit: David Karp