San Clemente Sunday Farmers’ Market
I feel like I’m on a never-ending spring break: The temperature peaks around 70ºF every day; palm trees line nearly every street I walk on; sunglasses rarely leave my head; and I already seem to have misplaced my Birkenstocks. I suppose, however, nothing has let me know I’m in Southern California for the long term more than the produce — avocados, lemons, oranges, guavas, kaffir limes — spilling off the tables at my new hometown’s Sunday farmers’ market.

Yesterday, Ben’s aunt Vicki and I had a field day, purchasing an array of goods that would soon become our dinner: baby spinach, mixed greens, avocados and cherry tomatoes for a salad; green beans, the miniest patty pan squash and brown beech mushrooms for a vegetable sauté; and wild sea bass caught on Saturday night off the coast of Mexico for our main course. As we walked, we sampled spicy, chicken-filled tamales and rainbow-colored kettle corn; we ooed and awed over a package of freshly made red pepper linguini; and we caved-in at the bake stand, purchasing a half-dozen chocolate-covered macaroons, which I subsequently thought about at least twice an hour until we finally got to sample them at 9 o’clock that evening.

I had never tasted a guava (pictured below) before yesterday. The woman selling them told us to wash them, cut off the stem on each end, and eat them — there is no peeling involved. I can’t find a word other than “tropical” to describe the taste of guava. Small seeds, which I munched on and swallowed, are dispersed throughout the flesh. I have thus confirmed the seeds to be harmless.

In addition to seeing items I had never seen at a farmers’ market before, I also found foods such as kaffir lime leaves and branches of fresh bay leaves I never imagined ever seeing at a local market.