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Jack London Square Farmers Market Update

Ruth Lafler | Oct 25, 2009 01:39 PM

Jack London Square has always been one of my favorite farmers' markets -- nicer setting, more spacious, better parking than Grand Lake, less precious then Temescal -- but it suffered greatly over the last couple of years with the construction at JLS and the growth of the other markets.

I went back a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to realize the construction was over and the setting was nicer than ever, with more open space, landscaping and places to sit. The shoppers seem to be coming back, too, and on a gorgeous autumn day like today, it was a delightful place to spend a couple of hours. I noted, also, that they've expanded their hours, which are now 9-2 (instead of 10-1). http://www.pcfma.com/marketdetail.php...

One reason I go to this market is that my favorite apple vendor has a stand there (seasonal only). Hillview Farms from Watsonville is in full swing. Today they had over 20 varieties of apples, including my beloved Macouns. I really like that the signs have a little info about the history of the apple -- today, for example, they had white winter permain apples, a variety which according to the sign goes back to 1200! They also have several different varieties of pears; pumpkins and other squashes, and some homestyle preserves. I bought a meyer lemon jelly last time that was just meyer lemons, water and pectin. The farmer and his wife are charming and enthusiastic about their apples.

The other highlight today was ScreamSorbet, which was offering a very appealing line-up (last time I was disappointed that nothing really tickled my fancy). The standout was the Anaheim chile sorbet -- it must be new flavor, because I don't see it on their product list. He warned me that it was hot, and indeed, it had a surprising afterburn considering that Anaheim chiles aren't particularly hot. Maybe the process concentrates the capsaicin. It was absolutely addictive -- it captured the essence of a hot green chile. I ended up getting the chile with a scoop of the watermelon, a combination he suggested to soothe the burn. The watermelon is good, but doesn't blow me away because watermelon sorbet is easy to make, and although the texture of Scream's is better than mine, it doesn't taste any better. I also got the cashew caramel (with salt), which was creamy (although it's nondairy) and delicious. Their nut flavors are always outstanding, and this was no exception.

Finally, I had a half-pizza ($6) from Copper Top Ovens mobile wood-burning pizza oven. I'm not a pizza expert, but it was pretty good, and nice addition to what was already an interesting line-up of prepared food vendors.

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