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Rare Fruits and Vegetables in the Los Angeles Area?

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Hey everyone,
I was just wondering if anyone can give me any info on what kinds of rare fruits and veggies are available in the LA area and where exactly I can find them?

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  1. I've heard of the California Rare Fruit Society - a friend was or still is a member. I will have to ask. They have members who are serious horti-geeks who grow just about anything exotic, and also make visits to others homes, botanic gardens, university fields, etc. and do lectures as well.

    The more obvious would be to head out to Little Saigon, Pioneer Blvd in Artesia or the San Gabriel Valley. Here's a recently updated thread about mangosteen. There's mentions by some posters of specific places:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620631

    1. I'm not sure how rare they are, but I've only seen cherimoya in L.A. and Peru. They are insanely delicious, and I think we are approaching the end of cherimoya season so eat them while you can! They are available at the Torrance farmers' market, and I am assuming at other farmers' markets.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Nicole

        When I lived in Guam we ate local soursop (called guanabana in Spanish-speaking places), which tastes just like cherimoya but is much larger -- a big one is about the size of a volleyball -- and looks a little lumpier on the outside. Same juicy white flesh, same large black seeds, same luscious taste, which I always thought tasted like a cross between peach and pineapple. It makes a great frozen daiquiri, though taking the seeds out is a minor pain.

        1. re: ozhead

          Sounds delicious. Daquiris are a great idea, maybe we'll try that with cherimoya sometime. My husband says that he would get guanabana juice in Peru, but not the actual fruit. I taste the notes of peach and pineapple in cherimoya, but also strong notes of banana and vanilla...it's definitely a hard flavor to describe.

          1. re: Nicole

            Jumex produces guanabana nectar in cans. I've bought it at such exotic locations as Vons (or maybe Ralphs -- can't recall), and I bet it's available at Mexican supermarkets like Vallarta.

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            Vallarta Restaurant
            563 W Ventura St, Fillmore, CA 93015

            1. re: ozhead

              Sadly, the canned nectars don't taste the same - I guess that's true for any of those canned nectars v. the real stuff.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                True, but hey -- any port in a storm.

      2. What types of rare fruits and veggies do you wish to locate? For example, some Asian vegetables and fruits may be plentiful in Asian markets but difficult to find elsewhere.

        1. Sunland Produce has a lot. 8840 Glenoaks, Sunvalley

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          Sunland Produce
          8840 Glenoaks Blvd, Sun Valley, CA