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Sep 4, 2007 06:21 PM

Tuesday Berkeley Farmers Market - honeydew sorbet, 1st dragonfruit & Royal white figs

Phan had the season's first dragonfruit at $7 a pound. They said it will be available for the next two months. Here's a link about the Phan dragonfruit.

Even if you are not a fan of Twin Girls Ice Cream, you MUST ... MUST .... try the honeydew sorbet. It is better than any melon I've had this year and is like biting into the sweetest, most perfect honeydew in your life ... all cold and lovely.

I forgot the vendor, but he's the only one who grows Royal white figs in the US ... he thinks. These are lovely, lovely, lovely. They have a pretty raspberry-colored interior that is light and almost liquid. The skin is a little thicker than most which gives it almost a nice crunch. I blush ... just finished off a basket in one sitting and if it wasn't too late, I'd drive back for more.

The vendor said about 15 years ago a customer from Greece gave him a cutting and as far as he knows, he's the only farm growing it. Same vendor has Beerss limes, white pomegranites and California (I think) pears ... little crimson pearrs.

Another new-to-me fig at another vendor was called Osborne profile. It seem somewhere inbetween a turkey fig and a mission. Not as flavorful as a mission and not as bland as a turkey fig.

The real reason for going today was getting the Dirty Girl dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. These are amazing. I tried Quezel a few weeks ago and they didn't do a lot for me, but if I could only eat one food, I could happily live on those Early Girls.

As reported by Gordon Wing, Frog Hollow has their wonderful Warren pears, though by the looks of them, I'm guessing they will only be there a week or two more.

I took a chance last week and bought a bottle of Frog Hollow's olive oil. It is good with a green flavor that calls attention to itself. Good for dipping. Not farmers market olive oil but I just discovered the joy of Lola's Olive Oil. Lola's started to sell it recently and it is a wonderful light oil and at $12 for 32 oz (I think), a real buy. John said that customers were asking him where they could get the olive oil he uses, so he started to sell it. Also, he thinks olive oil prices are out of line and wanted to provide a quality olive oil at a good price. it is.

Last week was the first time I've been to the Tuesday Market in years. It is pretty much the same.

Queen of Sheba honey was new to me. They have a shop somewhere in Berkeley. I liked the wildflower which had a lot of character.

One of the vendors was selling cactus pear, aka tuna, the bulb part of the cactus. Coincidentally I bought some Sunday for the first time at a local mercado ... pealed with a half a lime. They are wonderful and really do have a pear texture and taste ... with a lot of seeds like a guava. Anyway the vendor was selling two colors, white and a pretty gold/red. He was giving samples and I recommned giving it a try.

Highland Hills was new to me. Flaco's is roasting corn on a grill and it is very good. I used an ear in a stew and it gave a nice smoky flavor. On a hot day like today, I recommend that Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee.

Some previous posts about the Berkeley farmers markets including this excellent guide by Morton the Mousse

Delicious Thai at the Berkeley Farmers' Market

The Berkeley Farmer's Market Overview best breakfast pastry in the Bay Area

Quetzal Farm dry-farmed tomatoes

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  1. Ram Dass Farm had the white figs. Twin Girls ice cream puts guar gum in their sorbet. It just bugs me. At least the lemon sorbet. I am not going to buy more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wally

      Organic guar gum? Thanks for the info, I've never checked their ingrediant list because I've been buying scoops from the shop or farmers market tastes. This did have a wonderful soft mouth feel though.

      Thanks for the info about the fig vendor. I might just need to drag myself to the Saturday Berkeley market and pick up more of those figs.

      1. re: rworange

        Ram Dass farm also sells at Marin on Thursdays.

    2. Ram Dass has limes? Heck ya! Mrs. Mousse will be making a big bowl of guac to celebrate this Saturday. And his pears and pomegranates are good. I mean, really, really, good. There's a reason why I buy almost all of my fruit from Ram Dass.

      Thanks for the dragon fruit tip. I'll have to stop by Phan on Thursday.

      I like Three Twins Ice Cream. It's very nostalgic. The cookies and cream and mint chip flavors are excellent. Guar gum is derived from beans, so I don't have any nutritional, political, or ethical objections to eating it.

      1. As the Program Manager of the Berkeley Farmers' Markets it is always nice to see people enjoying the markets. The full name of Ram Dass is Guru Ram Das and there is a great article about them in our April/May 2003 newsletter (


        The is used as a stabilizer and thickener and prevents the formation of ice crystals. As Morton the Mousse mentioned, it is derived from the Guar Bean. The guar gum used by Three Twins is indeed organic. Lots of good information about Guar Gum on both wikipedia and wisegeek.

        I was talking to Cindy Phan about the dragonfruit and she told me that her father brought the cuttings here and they have over 100 bushes now. It must be sight to see, especially since the Phans have such a small farm (just 2.5 acres).

        Again, good to see people enjoying the market.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bfeldman

          I know what ithe guar gum is used for, it just bugs me.

        2. Since when did Dirty Girl Farms start selling at the Berkeley Market?

          2 Replies
          1. re: donbonus

            They have been there for years. They sometimes stop in the winter when everyone is selling greens.

            1. re: donbonus

              If I'm not confused, Dirty Girl has been at the Tuesday market for years, but they're not at the Saturday market.