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Chinatown fruit report - new for the 2011 season [old]

Hi all,
I posted about lychees becoming available FINALLY this weekend here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786349 and MVNYC said that the old fruit report thread was too long at this point. There is a ton of super information on that thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/654432) but in the interests of keeping things current, let's play here from now on.
Last week - loquats, tons of mangoes, lots of lychees, rambutans, mangosteen, not as many Mexican or other berries. Any other sightings?

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  1. Where did you see mangosteens? They're my favorite fruit, but they're so hard to find not frozen. I was in Asia for a few months a couple years ago and took the opportunity to gorge on them then, knowing that the ones we get here are usually such a disappointment.

    As for lychees, my Dad bought a few pounds last weekend. Apparently, they weren't his first score of lychees for the season. He had already polished off a couple pounds during the week. I was lucky enough to score the few handfuls I pilfered from his bowl! hahah

    10 Replies
    1. re: psylocke62

      Several stands (including my favorite, the one at the cornes of Mulberry and Canal) have them. $9.00/lb, looks like 2+ lb bags. Not previously frozen as far as I can tell, perhaps irradiated though.

      1. re: buttertart

        I'd say irradiation is almost certain. I have a habit of sticking the pits from whatever fruit I eat in pots when I am done (especially the tropical stuff from Ctown, and to this date, the mangosteens are the only one from which I have NEVER gotten a tree.
        There is actually a little trick for telling if the fruit has been frozen, push on it a little. Since the frozen fruit isn't allowed to get fully ripe before it's frozen when it thaws it returns to that state. Until recently I though that was what all mangosteens felt like, I simply assumed you needed to saw them open with a heavy knife to get at the insides) It's basically the same color as the ripe stuff but unlike the ripe stuff, it is still rock hard. If some of the fruit has a little give the bag was not frozen (the fruit is usally a little underripe even in this case, so most of it will be hard here as well) and the flavor will be a little better. Oh and if the insides of the fruit are yellow thow that one out, that means the sap got inside, and the sap tastes terrible and is hightly staining (it may actually be mildly poisionous, magosteens are a close relative of the source of the toxic yellow pigment gamboage).

        1. re: jumpingmonk

          As always, very valuable insight, thank you. The inside of the peel of the truly fresh ones is the most glorious color pink I've ever seen, would really love a dress that color.

          1. re: buttertart

            I sometimes get the same feeling about the shade of a ripe old style greengage though a tie in my case (I'm a guy after all).

            1. re: jumpingmonk

              Oh one other thing I forgot, not only do I still have the Jackfruit trees I planted last season, one of them is so big it's beginning to get the leaves of a mature plant (when Jack trees are young they have oval leaves with long points on the end and a lot of stiff hairs on the bottom (the leaves will actually stick like velcro to clothing) as the tree grows it starts to make leaves with lobes and rounder tips.) Just 40 more years (and a house with rooms with a 60' roof and I'll have my own fruit supply.!

              1. re: jumpingmonk

                hmmm, now i want to plant jackfruit trees...but i don't have 60' ceilings either...i wonder if i could plant some seeds in Central Park and see what happens :)

                1. re: Simon

                  Hard to say. All of the big buildings do tend to keep a lot of the heat in, so NYC is technically about a half to full zone higher than it should be for it's latitude, so I've seen things growing there casually that really shouldn't around here, like date palms poking out of the city planters (the result of someone spitting thier date stones into a public pot). and other (potted) palms coming to fruit around resturaunts and a whole wall of producing oranges around union square (though those were trifoliates (like the big one outside the Bronx Botanical Garden Gift shop) and so are cold hardy enough that they would grow even if they weren't in the city (the fruit tastes terrible though) . But my gut tells me that being in zone 7-7b will not be good enough for a plant whose home turf is sometihng along the lines of zone 25 or so (I dont even know what the zone lines for the tropics are.
                  Even if it did work, simply putting the pits in the ground likey would produce no results. When I said "I stuck the pits in a pot" that was a bit of an lie, doing that and they'll just get moldy and die (all that fruit juice is a mold magnet) To do one ( If you want a houseplant sized one, like mine is currently).....
                  1. Take about 12-20 jackfruit pits, no cut ones (not every one grows readily). Wash them thorughly and leave them somwhere airy to dry off a little for a week or so.
                  2. in the mean time get a few re-sealable plastic containers (the plastic ones chinese takeout main dishes now often come in are great for this, if they've been through the diswasher and are clean) and a quantity of jiffy pots (those little flat expanding peat discs you can get at garden stores).
                  3. after a week the outside skins on the seeds shoud have beocme off white to yellow. push on them until the crack then carefully peel the seed coats off (this is not wholly neccary, but will remove any traces of frult left.
                  4. put the jiffy pots in the containers (a standard container seats about 7-8) and hydrate them by pouring water on top. Dont worry if there is still some water in the bottom of the container when you are done)
                  5. look at the peeld seeds you will see a bump on one end, under the brown underskin push the seeds with that side on the bottom into the pots. you do not need to get the whole seed under the ground (in fact you can't with a peat pot, and really don't want to)
                  6. put the top on the containers (do NOT poke holes in the top) and place somehwhere warm (if this is autum a radiator top works great).
                  7. Every week or so lift the top and see how they are doing. If any are moldy discard (if there is mold in the pot but the seed still feels firm, you can often simply wipe the mold away) when the bit of the seed that's still over the top of the soil goes from yellow to green, or when a sterlized pin stuck in it draws white latex sap. they've germinated. Transfer the jiffy pot into a standard flowerpot full of potting soil, removing the plastic net around it (if as often happens, the bottom root has grown though the net simply cut around the base of the Jiffy and leave the bottom on, it wont hurt the plant) The shoot shoud show up in about another three weeks.
                  This method works on most tropical fruit pits you would find in Ctwn. Ive done it on lychees, whgich have beautifly pink leaves when they are young (on thingh though , if you are doing from seed, you can't do the "chicken tounge ones, those skinny pits are aborted and sterile) It works with rambtans too though getting one of those to grow is a lot harder (a lot of rambutans are still irradiated, while almost no lychees are, so finding fetile ones is a lot harder). Probaby the best one to work with in NYC would be yuzu (that Japanese citrus that costs so much). they can take temps dow to -5c (which means that in NYC you can actually leave them out throgh the winter, if you remember to wrap them up when it gets really cold) and can cofortably reach full fruting size in a 5 gallon pot (like a lot of people grow tomatoes in on their patio) It will even fruit during the winter, though to do that, you'll need to practice hand pollination (unless you fill you apartment over the winter with bees!) A lot of citruses will work well indoors, kumquats, kalamansi, maybe (as I mentioned I have yet to see fresh kalamansi, and there are at least three citruses that bear that common name) key limes (though those can have nasty thorns). etc.

                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                    I've literally done the stick pit in pot and got sprouting mango, persimmon, pummelo, cactus pear, guava, and papaya and that weirdo fruit we discussed here before sapodilla. I don't expect any fruit from any of these but it's rather cool to watch these grow. The persimmon is really taking off and I have high hopes for the mango (champagne) getting even bigger -- it's currently ~ 6 inches and continuing to sprout. Given the thread above, I may try a lychee seed.

              2. re: jumpingmonk

                I want a dress greengage color too. Friends in northern California (he's from Manila) had a kalamansi tree and pitchers of kalamansi ade were staples for them.

          2. re: buttertart

            If they haven't been frozen, they are likely irradiated. Reminds me of this article from a few years back: www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/27f.... Funny to know that it's taken 3-4 years to see mangosteens more frequently, even though they're still awfully expensive.

        2. what i'd really to see is jackfruit, w/ each tulip-like piece harvested and sold in bags, like they do in Thailand...the way i've seen it in Chinatown, they slice the whole thing like a ham, which is awful...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Simon

            A few of the dealers on Mulberry and Baxter sell it pre cleaned as well,in plastic pint containers (like the ones they pack takeout soup in.

            1. re: jumpingmonk

              thanks jumpingmonk...that is great news...i may head down there tomorrow :)

              1. re: Simon

                You see it a lot lately, the lady on Mulberry at Canal had it last week.

                1. re: buttertart

                  wow, that's great...between this news and the opening of Zaab-Elee, i feel like i really moved back to NYC at the perfect time...

          2. The chicken-tongue lychees are really a lot better than the regular loose ones - my 2 lbs had a few that had presumably fallen off the twigs. Not sure if they're worth the big jump in price, but they are more succulent and have a lot more flesh.

            6 Replies
            1. re: buttertart

              Can you explain the visual difference between these two types of lychees?

              I wish I had bought cherries in Chinatown today instead of shelling out $6.99 per pound at Whole Foods for terrible red cherries.

              1. re: erica

                I posted the pic of the seeds themselves here - the ones with the smaller seeds are usually a bit longer and slightly more pointed on the ends, but not always. The ones I've had have been mixed with the loose ones I buy and are peeled and bitten into before I know what I've got. I'll see about a pic when I get some more (the lady at Mulberry and Canal didn't have any on Sunday - but her daughter said it was just that they didn't have them, not that they were finished for the season).

                1. re: buttertart

                  Thanks! I have never tried fresh lychees but would like to; I saw two types on the stands today--ones on the branches and loose ones. The loose ones seemed to ahve a green-ish tinge if I am remembering correctly.

                  1. re: erica

                    The redder they are the fresher they are, I've been told.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      For lychees, be sure to ask location as well. Taiwanese are the most fragrant and sweetest, as well as most expensive. Mexican and Floridian are also usually very good. Avoid the ones from China, as in my experience, they tend to be less fragrant, less sweet and more likely to be spoiled.

                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                        I'm always on the lookout for Taiwan ones, because it was there I had my first. Most of them in NY seem to be from FL (makes sense given shipping).

            2. There's an Asian -- maybe Thai fruit -- that is orange on the outside and green on the inside. My son had a fruit drink made out of this fruit at Spice Market last week. Any idea what it is. It apparently starts with a "C" or "K" depending on the translation. It had a slight tangerine taste to it. Does anyone know it or has seen it anywhere?

              -----
              Spice Market
              403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

              2 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                if you got the colors reversed (orange inside green outside)I'm guessing Kalamansi/Calamansi. And no I'm not sure I've ever seen the actual fruit for sale (that's not saying it doesn't happen, just that I've never seen them) If the color is as you said, it sounds like lulo/naranjilla, That's actually South American, but I imagine they could grow them in SE Asia as well. I've seen those for sale from time to time in Latin American supermrkets, but not often

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  I think I must have reversed the colors. I think is is Kalamansi. Thanks.

              2. Chinatown was awash in lychees this Sunday - most places 3 lb for $10, our lady of Mulberry St was at 3 lb for $8 (and her stand was mobbed at around 3 pm).
                She also had black cherries at 2 lb for $6, as did a lot of places. I thought hers didn't look as good as the others BUT they are terrific, big, meaty, sweet, and hard (and included some Queen Annes).

                1. Here's a pic of the "chicken tongue" lychee pit and the regular one - it's a whole lot smaller. Worth it if the price differential is 2x or so (actually just worth it, they're very good - check with vendors, sometimes they have one cut open to show the flesh and pit). The plate they are on is a salad one for a sense of relative size.
                  This Sunday, lots of lychees at various price points, lots of large loquats, mangosteen, guavas, longyan, and quenepas (a lychee relative, I haven't tried them and don't know the name in Chinese, does anyone?). The other usual stuff, berries and...pomegranates 2/$5? Whaa?
                  The stall at the corner of Mulberry and Bayard also had LIAN WU (snow apples) for $4 a pound - they were not in very good shape though (some spotted with mold) so I didn't buy any. Now I know when to quasi-expect them.

                   
                  3 Replies
                  1. re: buttertart

                    Wooooo! I'm hoping there's some good snow apples soon. I had so many when I was traveling in Taiwan and Hong Kong a few years back. Though, they called them rose apples there. Either way, I'm looking forward to having some soon...

                    1. re: buttertart

                      oh wow, so excited to hear there are now lian wu in NYC, even though i'm now living in they bay area. will definitely have to let my family know. possibly my favority asian fruit in the world.

                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                        Very sporadically in early summer (not every year) and this was the only time I saw them - in pretty miserable shape.
                        I love them too, when they're good.

                    2. Has anyone tried wong pei? I snapped these photos yesterday outside the Tu Quynh Pharmacy, on Grand St. at the Bowery, where the proprietor told me only that they were "sour" and that this bunch was grown in Florida. I saw another couple of bunches at a stall on the south side of Grand, a half-block to the west, same price. Didn't buy; they seemed too bruised for $8 per pound.

                       
                       
                      16 Replies
                      1. re: DaveCook

                        Those are the ones I refer to as quenepas above - they are, aren't they? Was there a sign with the characters? Never saw these in China/Taiwan.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          They aren't. Quenepas are usually green outside with a pastel orange flesh surrounding a large pit. Wong pei, I believe, have brown skins and are greenish on the inside and have several pits. I believe they're kind of reminiscent of grapes, though the wong pei pits are larger.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            My reference of first resort, Fruits of Warm Climates, distinguishes the wampee (wong pei)...

                            http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/mo...

                            ...from the mamoncillo (quenepa)...

                            http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/mo...

                            The wong pei appears to be grapelike, while the quenepa is covered with a rind, as shown in the photo below. However, they do apparently share at least one annoying characteristic: a large pit in proportion to the flesh.

                             
                            1. re: DaveCook

                              The ones I saw had hard shells.

                          2. re: DaveCook

                            The fruit is often referred to as wampee, or huang pi (yellow skin) in Cantonese. I tried some yesterday in Chinatown and the flavor & fragrance reminded me of a cross between kumquats and pomelos, while the texture of the interior flesh was similar to a soft grape. The skins have a slight bitter aftertaste and I wasn't sure if they should be eaten or discarded. After inquiring, I learned that either is acceptable. The flavor of the skin is like that of a kumquat's--bitter yet sweet at the same time. The seeds inside were a beautiful, vibrant green color and surprisingly large given how little flesh each fruit contains. It seems like the type of fruit that requires patience to eat. I found the tartness refreshing and will definitely explore different uses for the fruit. I suspect it would be a great addition to certain desserts, ceviches...and vodka infusions.

                            SeriousEats had a short piece on the fruit a whiles back:
                            http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/07/as...

                            1. re: BklynBlaise

                              Good to know, thanks.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                I bought a bunch of them last year (I actually have a whole pot of little wampee trees now since I tossed the seeds in a spare pot on the patio). If you get the ability to pick out your own, the "long" fruited ones are a bit sweeter than the round ones (most sellers have a mixture of the two) though the skins are tougher.
                                I'm headed for flushing tomorrow, I can only hope they have lian wu (or as I know them, jambu) as well. as it seems to be the only Ctwon fruit I have not tried yet.

                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                  They're not terrifically excitng to eat (a bit like dragon fruit without all the little seeds, similar texture - like soft styrofoam saturated with a mildly sweet/tart liquid), but they are very refreshing and a beautiful color. I thought they came on later in the summer because I remember it being VERY hot when they were out.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Well after two weeks of going, I have found no sign of the Lian Wu (or the wampee for that matter). So I can only assume that whatever suppy you saw either sold out in a day (my first trip was only about 24 hours after your report) or became too moldy to sell and were discarded. Maybe I'll check the fruit stands a bit further west (on Bowery and Chrystie) in a week or two, when I'm done in Flushing (Ive been doing both areas for the last two weeks, but that's getting exausting!).
                                    On a side note, the week before last I bumped into some rather interesting rambutans at one of the stands on Mulberry. They were a bit smaller than most rambutans being offered, about lychee sized (though now that some of the lychees are getting so enromous, i'm not sure how valid that size comparison is. They were hover, far sweeter than the Rambutans usually are, as well as a bit softer and more "freestone" (ease of gettign the flesh off the pit without half the pit skin coming off in your mouth as well. even odder there was a odd rambutan type WITHIN the odd rambutans. One stick (these rambutans were on stem, much like the lychees often are. had rambutans that were noticably tarter than most (not unpleasantly so, but more of a normal grape tartness. and a lot jucier. pits were a bit odd too unusually wide for rambutan pits ('Ive got them in a pot in my room now.) I did not get to eat many of them (a lot of the ones on that stick were past thier prime, and too overripe to eat.) but they were good in their own way.

                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                      Fascinating.
                                      I think that hot spell must have taken a toll on the outdoor fruit purveyors' supplies.

                            2. re: DaveCook

                              Guineps!

                              Very Caribbean. I almost died as a kid when the seed got stuck in my throat.

                              1. re: WestIndianArchie

                                Fruit update 7/6/11
                                Not a lot of interesting fruit. I think the oddest thing I saw on Wed was those tiny mangoes (the stand at Bowery and Canal had a big box of them). Other than that, just the usual apples,mangosteens, bananas, lychees (thogh they are beginniong to look a little worse for wear) etc. Think I saw a few guavas and pomegranates as well.

                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                  Longans, too.

                                   
                                  1. re: DaveCook

                                    Longyan have been available for several weeks now (I think even before lychees? - it surprised me to see them because they followed lychees in Taiwan). I'd take one lychee over a pound of longyan, myself.
                                    There have been pomegranates for 3 or 4 weeks - I thought it was completely bizarre but of course they must be from South America...

                                    1. re: DaveCook

                                      Incidentally, if you unlike buttertart (and myself) actually like longyan, then some time when you in the Manhattan Ctown area, you may also want to visit the health food store on the corner of 18th and 3rd. It's been a few years since I was there, but they used to carry longyans of a different variety, much smaller (about blueberry size) and much sweeter.

                                      1. re: DaveCook

                                        Thanks, buttertart and jumpingmonk. I hadn't noticed that June 14 post, or, at the time, the longans themselves. I think that many vendors partook of the same recent shipment from Homestead, Florida, a name I saw on several boxes.

                                2. Yesterday there were relatively few lychees but tons and tons of longyan - since the lychee season has gone longer than this in earlier years I'm wondering if the drought situation in the south is affecting production.
                                  Lots of the usual suspects - dragon fruit, mangosteen, jackfruit, rambutan - as well as some gorgeous-looking black and Queen Anne cherries, which I didn't buy because of all the white peaches, plums, and apriums I bought at my local farmers' market.
                                  Pomegranates from Chile seem to be gone (they have them at Fairway though).

                                  While we're on the topic, jumpingmonk, one of the plums I got in NJ is a "pomegranate plum" - the vendor said they were a cross, which I'm sure they're not - but they are a gorgeous color and taste very like pomegranate. The apriums out this year (with apricottish barely downy skins) are quite lovely.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    We split an interesting, non-local question about lychees over to our General Topics board in hopes that the broader audience would be able to answer it. You can find it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796475

                                  2. http://www.wimp.com/unusualfruits/ shows several of the more unusual fruits under discussion here - mangosteen, rambutan, cherimoya (shi jia in Mandarin), and the elusive rose apple (lian wu) - which is more interesting to eat than it is described as being in the video.

                                    1. Anyone seen custard apples? I'm desperately trying to find some to ship to my mom and grandma back home but no luck so far

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: laoelsy7

                                        They were available a while ago - I'll keep an eye out. You mean the ones like those in the video, right?

                                      2. Pretty same-y this weekend, lychees 3 lb/$9, one stand had them (from the sign, the small-pit ones, haven't tried them yet) for 2 lb/$5...tons of longyan, guavas, large Bing-type cherries, some pluots.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Muscadine grapes are now in, for those that want them. Mostly rthe purples, but some sellers had the greens as well.

                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                            ALERT ALERT ALERT!!!!!!

                                            Today, at the fruit stand on Bowery between Grand and Hester on the bridge side (the one sort of across the street from Congee and Fu Wong, and a few doors away from the Full House Cafe) I noted that the fruit seller has once again managed to get in fresh SOURSOPS. They are HUGE this year (which may be a problem, as the fruit is $6.00 a pound, and that seller only sells by the whole fruit so you're probably looking at a $30.00 outlay at minimum). They seem a little hard still, so you probably have some time.

                                            -----
                                            Congee
                                            98 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                            Full House Cafe
                                            97 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

                                        2. So lately it's been the usual fruit, nothing really exotic. However, I've been seeing cherries (lovely) and am wondering where they're from. Any ideas?

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: shirlockc

                                            My computer's being weird and I can't link to it, but this has been talked about recently. A search should yield that thread.

                                            1. re: shirlockc

                                              The boxes I saw were from Chile. Berries from there have been good too (and cheap), so much so that I made a raspberry pie this weekend, quite the luxury in January. Nice to be able to live like Yang Gueifei and not have to worry about falling out of favor with the emperor.
                                              Saw a lot of small guavas a couple of weeks ago, yellow, though, not like the feijoas (pineapple guavas) we used to get in CA.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                I also saw mangos from Peru. Bought the cherries and then had a convo about eating "local" with my friend. Cherries in January v. eating local, not much of a contest :)

                                                1. re: shirlockc

                                                  They're being imported anyway, might as well eat them.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Really not a lot to report for this year. I managed to track down some actual, factual satsumas a month or so ago (the extra tiny oranges that are the same type that they can as mandaring orange slices. but those are long gone, I bought some smallish stem oranges from one of the Flushing stands (on purposie, I tend to find the smaller the orange or tangerine, the more satsuma it's likey to have in it's heritage, and the better I'm going to like them.
                                                    It's also blood orange season again, so I'm combing the stores for the rare old time type ones see follwing link for my rant on the difference between the old ones and the new ones (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829029)

                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                      You're right, and I have no idea why that should be. Please let me know where, when you find them - I love good blood oranges.
                                                      Also, I've neve seen them in Chinatown, but it's Temple orange season. Heaven.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        I, of course have no idea why it is so, but I DO have a theroy as to how the new version became the standard. Now that blood orange is a trendy "superfruit" for the anitoxidant crowd, there is a real demand for blood orange juice. The classic blood orange is a bit dry. So I think they crossed (or given the time span we are talking found a cross of) the old blood with a juice orange, and that's what the current one is. The juice may not be as high quality (in terms of taste or anitoxident count) but there is a lot more of it.
                                                        BTW, I just ate one of the leaf tangerines i bought today, and am really dissapointed. Sour as battery acid.

                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                          That's what my dad used to call grapefruit juice ;-)

                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                          I managed to pick up three temples today at a local market. I agree not bad. Sorta makes up for the tangerines I bought at the same time, still nothing like the satsumas.
                                                          In other fruit info, I've been prowiling the Indian groceries on the edges of Flushing Ctwn for a few weeks. I tasted Indian Bananas for the first time. They're okay but not all that different from the regular one's in my opinion. There were also some small round yelllow melons, which I found somewhat tasteless and unsweet (good reason too, when I looked them up online, I discovered my yellow "melons" were in fact Dosakai cucumbers!) most of the rest of my finds are of a fully vegetable nature (a couple kinds of hyacynth beans, most of the cucrbits (by doing a little squeezing to actually make a point of taking a few overripe ones, I actually got my hands on some mature seed for parval, bitter cucumber, and that little striped thing to play around with in the spring) Oh and there was a thing I thought was a small jackfruit (or a very spiky breadfruit) but it turned out to have no edible bits inside, just a lot of seeds (maybe with this variety you were supposed to eat those) which all rotted when I planted them (the fruit was probably frozen at some point). It Ugli season now, though they are not particualry good this year (most are tough and a few have a decided grapefruit bitterness)

                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                            I'm not really sure if this count's as a fruit report, but it is something I've known about for a few weeks, and might be of interest. It concerns Kam Man, the supermarket on Canal between Mulberry and Mott, for at least the last month or so (probably more, but I've only been visiting that long) the herb section near the counter has had a tub of unshelled walnuts of surprising quality. Not only are they tasty (provided you know how to weigh nuts in your hand to make sure you don't get any withered ones) but a lot of them are HUGE, like ping pong ball sized (and a fair number are even larger, I've picked up ones that are the size of small apricots.) It would probably take a bontanist (like me) to notice this, but quite a few nuts also seem to be from trees that are part (possibly even all) other species (not breeds, actual species) many of which result in nuts with alternate, often delicios variations on a "normal" walnuts flavor (like a walnut that has the sweetness of a pecan while still having a normal walnuts oliyness.)

                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                              Guys, can we start a new thread titled Chinatown fruit report 2012? It's April 2012 already. :D

                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                I am getting there this weekend for these come hell or high water.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  In that case, come over to the new thread and I'll give you a species identification tutorial, so you know which ones you want to be picking out.

                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                    Can't wait!