4 Season Produce is a new market at the corner of Bastanchury Road and Placentia Ave. in Placentia, where the Von’s used to be. I was very excited when I saw it coming there since I was hoping it would add to our offerings of locally grown and/or organic produce. Contrary to popular Chowhound misconception, the Fullerton-Brea-Placentia-Yorba Linda area is not a barren futurescape where we emerge from our cookie cutter tract homes to gorge on high fructose corn syrup and all food is controlled by YUM Brands. In fact the area has improved over the last few years in terms of food options and seems to be continuing to do so. Anyway, for really good produce options have been limited. Trader Joe’s is hit or miss, as is Henry’s. The traditional grocers have variety but not much in the way of quality or local ingredients. The best nearest farmers’ market in terms of quality is Tustin, although the Fullerton market at Independence Park is OK.
I should add here that another option is emergent for this area. South Coast Farms’ (http://www.southcoastfarms.com/) Community Supported Agriculture project is going to add the Fullerton Arboretum (on the Cal State Fullerton campus) to its dropoff points beginning in mid-January.
Anyway, in my mind the sign “4 Season Produce” on this large storefront fostered images of a veritable cornucopia of the freshest local ingredients. The layout is very spacious and there are four large islands laid perpendicular to one wall, all containing a large selection of fruits and vegetables. In addition to the same items available at any large grocery (and apparently purchased from many of the same suppliers), there are ingredients aimed at Middle Eastern, Mexican, other Latin American, and Indian cooking. The selection includes items that are sometimes difficult to find such as okra and English peas. Both of these seemed over the hill unfortunately. There are many varieties of cactus, eggplant, chiles, and root vegetables. There is a decent variety of greens and most of them seemed pretty fresh.
In addition to the large produce area, there is a halal meat counter where one can obtain feet, tongue, lamb heads, chicken, and choose from a small selection of fish. The grocery aisles and tables have quite a bit of Persian and Indian items. There is a very large selection of nuts and nut products. The frozen section again has quite a bit of items for Persian cuisine.
I am glad to see this addition to the grocery options in the area. The produce selection, however, was not quite what I was hoping for. The “standard items” were nothing special. The more “exotic” items seemed to vary in quality. Nothing is labeled for source, and nothing was labeled organic. I am looking forward to visiting and investigating the store further.