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Where to buy pitaya (a.k.a. dragon fruit)

laguerita Oct 13, 2007 05:38 PM

i'm looking for fresh (not dried!) pitaya, also known as dragon fruit. i live in culver city and work at USC, so I'm hoping some central american or asian market in my area sells it...i'd rather not have to drive to the valley for fruit. please let me know if you know a place...thank you!!

  1. b
    bulavinaka Oct 13, 2007 08:16 PM

    So many of the immigrant communities around LA eat this fruit. If they came from any country whose region is very hot, most likely they ate it there. Malaysians, Vietnamese, Filipinos, many Chinese, Mexicans, Central and South Americans, even some folks from the Middle East grow and eat this fruit.

    I don't know if the local stores sell locally grown or imported pitaya. I do know that fruits like this and mangos are currently being cultivated and grown in the hottest desert areas of So Cal. If the pitaya is coming from So Cal, then there will be a definite season or seasons through the year as this cactus vine will go through flowering cycles that will bear fruit multiple times a year. This will be dependent on the amount of heat and sunlight.

    Try calling around or just stop in any well-stocked ethnic grocery store or even produce markets and vans around these neighborhoods. I was in Westminster a few weeks ago and thought I did see some at a couple of small produce markets. Good luck!

    1. DiveFan Oct 13, 2007 09:33 PM

      After seeing this fruit on The Desert Speaks (PBS) I've been keeping an eye out around the South Bay. Sad to say, batting zero so far. If it's being grown in California or imported from Mexico it will probably show up in upscale markets - it is rare and will be very expensive.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DiveFan
        bulavinaka Oct 14, 2007 12:00 AM

        If you're in the South Bay, North Orange County is close - try cruising Westminster around Bolsa - minimum you'll find alot of great eats - usually for a fraction of the cost that you'd think you should be paying. But hopefully, you'll find your treasure.

      2. j
        Jerome Oct 14, 2007 12:38 AM

        there's a local grower at the venice farmers market on fridays that carries it during the summer.
        as well, in the fall, some gelson's carry pitaya pitahaya huolongguo dragon fruit.

        white fleshed and red fleshed (diff Cereus spp)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jerome
          bulavinaka Oct 14, 2007 12:42 AM

          Great tip - I work and live in the area but can never make it to the Friday farmers market - maybe the OP can though. I think the hours are 0700 or 0800 to 1100.

        2. z
          zinFAN Oct 14, 2007 08:12 PM

          I know Coleman's carries it on Wed at the SM Farmer's Market (along with sapote & passion fruit) but i'm not sure if they bring it to the Saturday market.

          2 Replies
          1. re: zinFAN
            AAQjr Oct 18, 2007 06:07 PM

            saw some last sun at the Brentwood FM... alongside the quince and guava

            1. re: AAQjr
              goodhealthgourmet Oct 20, 2007 10:13 PM

              this makes me so happy...i'm headed there tomorrow.

              thanks for the tip!

          2. d
            Diana Oct 15, 2007 09:06 AM

            Heck, Gelson's has it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Diana
              silverlakebodhisattva Oct 15, 2007 03:47 PM

              Heck, I've seen 'em at Pavilions and Ralphs in the last couple of weeks...

            2. raytamsgv Oct 15, 2007 04:02 PM

              Most Asian supermarkets will have them in season. I don't know when that is, but my dragon fruit plants have recently borne fruit.

              1. a
                avena Oct 16, 2007 01:44 PM

                I've seen it at Bristal Farms in South Pasadena...I've tried it (not from Bristal Farms) and wasn't crazy about it. The flavor is very mild.

                1 Reply
                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva
                  DiveFan Oct 17, 2007 11:15 PM

                  Some pitayas finally showed up at Saigon Market in Lawndale.... and are yours for $4.50 a pound.

                2. stochasticgirl Oct 16, 2007 05:14 PM

                  168 Market on New and Valley in San Gabriel has CRATES of dragon fruit right now. Only about 20 minutes from USC if you can avoid traffic.

                  1. nbgaucho Oct 16, 2007 08:02 PM

                    I picked some up at the Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Market. The same vendor also had passion fruit. Go early because they sell out, just make sure to leave some for me.

                    1. h
                      Hailyn Oct 18, 2007 01:08 PM

                      Close to USC, you might want to try Little Tokyo. I just went to Nijiya Market this morning, in the Japanese Village Plaza between First and Second at Central, and they were selling fresh pitaya.

                      1. f
                        FED Oct 18, 2007 03:03 PM

                        just saw it at 99 Ranch in Artesia.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: FED
                          jennp Oct 18, 2007 05:13 PM

                          Yeah I've also just seen it this past weekend at the 99 Ranch market in Irvine. I'm assuming other locations have them as well...

                        2. Emme Oct 21, 2007 11:01 AM

                          in case you happen to end up in sherman oaks perchance, try Farm Boy... they're also selling persimmons for 99 cents a pound!

                          1. m
                            morganreuben Nov 23, 2007 01:37 AM

                            Hi I come from Malaysia & its almost all season we find it here, anyway if you want in bulk or for retail you can email me further: malaysiankl1@yahoo.com......Thanks

                            1. v
                              vikum May 15, 2008 11:59 PM

                              i had hered that best dragon fruits are grown in Sri lanka. there they use only organic fertilizers to grow dragon fruit so i think that you should try a sri lanken food outlets.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: vikum
                                justagthing May 16, 2008 12:15 AM

                                Old thread, but you can also buy locally grown fruit. My friends' gma had several plants in her backyard. quite refreshing.

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