Visitors to the Summer Certified Farmers’ Market are in for an unusual treat in the next few weeks as this week’s Fresh Pick, locally-grown Dragon Fruit, makes its first appearance at the market. Although native to Mexico, Central America, and South America (and often found growing wild in the Sonoran Desert), Dragon Fruit (also known as Pitaya) is not commonly found in mainstream grocery stores in the United States. Where you can find Dragon Fruit is in specialty stores, Asian Markets, and, in our case, the Summer Certified Farmers’ Market.
Dragon Fruit is the fruiting body of several species of vine-like cacti, and resembles other, more well-known varieties of cactus fruit, such as the Prickly Pear. The Dragon Fruit, however, is far more beautiful, and more flavorful than its prickly cousins. Our locally-grown Dragon Fruit comes from Pedro’s Avocado Ranch (www.pedrosavocadoranch.com) in Fallbrook, California. The fruits are quite beautiful – even a bit flamboyant - with a vibrant red-magenta skin that is punctuated by green triangular-shaped scales. Inside, they are an even more vibrant shade of magenta with tiny black seeds scattered throughout. The flesh is mild-flavored, soft and juicy, and can be eaten raw, or used to make fruit salads, desserts, juices, wine, tea and sorbets. Both the texture and the flavor of Dragon Fruit are reminiscent of Kiwi Fruit, but with added sweetness and tartness. It’s a rarified flavor that’s delicious, and well worth trying.
Dragon Fruit is not only pretty. It’s also quite nutritious, and is rich in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Dragon Fruit also provides large amounts of niacin (vitamin B3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The fruit is rich in fiber, contains significant quantities of phytaolbumin antioxidants (which prevent the formation of cancer-causing free radicals), and has been used to successfully control blood glucose levels.
DID YOU KNOW: Dragon Fruit is quite popular throughout Asia, and is cultivated in Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Japan, and southern China. Ironically, it is not native to any of those countries and is thought to have been introduced to Asia by European traders who first discovered it in the New World (the Americas) during Colonial Days.
Price: $ 8.50 per pound
Also in Season, and available now at all locations: Potatoes, Celery, Green Onions, FRESH and DRIED Herbs, Eggs, Dates, Almonds, Oranges, Grapefruit, Chard, Eggplant, Squash, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Shallots, Beets, Green Beans, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuces, Parsley, Mint, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Radishes, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Dates . . . . PLUS, incredible artisan breads, fresh meats, cheese, fresh raw honey, California olives/olive oil/vinegars, and a wide variety of fresh flowers.
Contact the Certified Farmers’ Market at 760.898.5250, 760-285-2630 (se habla Espanol), or visit us online at www.certifiedfarmersmarket.org.
The Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center - a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.