Apples, Asian Pears and Jujubes

October ushers in fall fruits at the market.

A few quintessential autumn items have just come into season at the .

“This is definitely the time when our orchard gets to shine,” Leyla Coben of Ha’s Apple Orchard said.

Ha’s Apple Orchard is a certified organic farm located in Tehachapi. It’s owned and operated by David Ha and his wife, Kyung, who were both pioneers in the early days of the California farmers market movement when it started more than 25 years ago.

“We have apples year-round, but this time of year the apples are fresh-picked from the tree,” Coben said.

Apples are harvested in the autumn months, but for the rest of the year they are pulled from cold storage. In general, apples have a long shelf life. When properly stored in ideal temperature and humidity conditions, they will keep for months.

Ha’s Apple Orchard grows a variety of apple varieties such as Fiji, Gala and Granny Smith. Throughout the year, it also harvests plums, grapes, melons and berries. The farm offers these fruits fresh, dried or as jams and jellies. All of the packaged items are made without added sugar and yeast, and are unpasteurized so you get a spread of pure, 100 percent naturally flavored fruit on your toast. You can also buy apple cider vinegar at the stand, which is a popular ingredient for many fall and winter holiday recipes.

“October is also when we start to pick our Asian pears and jujubes,” Coben said.

Asian pears have a unique watery texture and soft flavor. They make for an excellent addition to tossed salads.

As for jujubes, the fruit has been growing for more than 4,000 years in China, where it is called the “fruit of life” because of the many health benefits associated with it.

“Jujube fruit is very good for improving circulation and lowering cholesterol,” Coben said.

When the jujube fruit is eaten at its unripe stage, it has the crunchy texture of an apple. As the fruit ripens, it’s similar to a date—softening and becoming intensely sweet.

But Ha’s isn’t the only provider of apples at the market. Stop by Fair Hills Farms for a selection of apples from its organic Paso Robles farm.

“Our Gala apples are the first to come into season,” said Candi Loureiro, who operates the Fair Hills Farm stand.

In the coming weeks, Fair Hills will have Fuji and the boutique Honey Crisp variety, a small, light pink, crisp-skinned apple with a juicy flesh.

Next Week at the Market: Kid Zone with Poy Rides and Petting Zoo returns as well as Cookin’ Kids, during which children prepare recipes using ingredients from the market. Live entertainment will be provided by Christy Schmidt in the café area.

The Beverly Hills Farmers' Market is held every Sunday (rain or shine) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 9300 block of Civic Center Drive. There are more than 60 farmers and vendors offering a wide variety of organic and conventional California-grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are also prepared food kitchens with menu items to take out or enjoy at the small on-site cafe.

Parking is available on the neighboring side streets or in the garage attached to the City Hall and library. The market supplies free shopping carts to use and they are located there.

If you have any stories or recipes from the market that you wish to share, please contact the site editor at mariec@patch.com.

David De Bacco is a writer living and celebrating life in Los Angeles. He has worked for some of the world's most famous chefs and restaurateurs, and along the way he became a little savvy about food and wine. He has published articles and cookbooks for Shibata Publishing Co. in Tokyo and is a contributing writer for Edge Publications. He is also the creator of the Cookin with Mama blog, a meeting place to share recipes from our mothers.

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