California Mangosteens at San Carlos Farmer’s Market

We were at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market, buying salmon from our favorite fishmonger, Pat from Mission Fresh Fish.  This was the first time we’d been to this particular market.  San Carlos is about 40 minutes’ drive from where we live in San Jose.  But we needed to pick up some fresh salmon and frozen ahi (more on that later).

Pat mentioned to us that there was a vendor who was selling mangosteens and lychee, grown in Lancaster, California!  (Lancaster is in Southern California, between Los Angeles and Bakersfield.)  I couldn’t believe it. But as we made our way around, we actually found the stall.

Mangosteens and Lychee at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market

Mangosteens and Lychee at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market

These mangosteens were more reddish than the deep purple color that you find in Malaysia.  The vendor was selling them for $14 / lb!  One of these small fruit would set you back $4!  We said we’d wait until we got back to Malaysia to eat them.

We did snag a half pound of lychee for $3.50 though.  They’re all right, not as good as some I’ve had in Hawaii or Malaysia.  But if you’re desperate for locally grown tropical fruit, you might want to come see this vendor.

Mangosteens and Lychee at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market

Mangosteens and Lychee at the San Carlos Farmer’s Market

The vendor also sells bananas, mangoes, and cherimoya.  She said she’d be selling at farmer’s markets in San Francisco, Friday through Sunday. Pat said that the mangosteens weren’t really worth it, but the cherimoya were delicious.

I’m pretty amazed that these tropical fruit are being grown in California.  It’s nice to know that you can get this kind of fruit relatively local.  Otherwise, you’d only see frozen and abused fruits shipped many thousands of miles from across the sea.

Now I wonder if anyone is growing durian here…

Aloha, Nate

11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen says:

    >I SO want to get my hands on some mangosteens. Not in western Colorado, though. Lychees are nice too. I love their perfumed flavor.

  2. berylleonard says:

    >Cherimoyas have been growing in California since before my 87 year old mother was born. We found them wild when I was a child. Very tasty. If anyone didn’t want to try them, my mother would say that they were a favorite of Mark Twain. One of those things that taste so much better than it looks!

  3. daniellui says:

    >Yes! I have! when I was at the orphanage in Nanning, I had one and took some pretty awesome pictures. Pretty unique fruit… the texture of the flesh is like a banana but it tastes strangely like a kiwi.

  4. Claudia says:

    >I do wonder about mangosteens in Calif. as it won’t stand frost. Perhaps via southern Mexico? My tree is over 10 years old and I’m patiently waiting for it to fruit. We do get them at our Farmer’s Market and they are expensive, though not as bad as yours. They’re delicious, but often have a yellow gamboge inside, making them undesirable, so I don’t like to take the gamble, prices being what they are.

  5. Lando says:

    >I am a victim of frozen mangosteens from local Filipino grocery stores. The only time I was able to enjoy a fresh one was in the Philippines. I’d like to taste the mangosteens grown here to see how they compare. I’m sure they’re better than the frozen ones.

  6. shavedicesundays says:

    >i bought a bag of these from our local socal market for a Mother’s Day gift of all things. They were that expensive.

  7. Carolyn Jung says:

    >Wow, a local farmers market selling cherimoya? I had my first taste of those lovely custard apples in Europe ages ago. I remember seeing a gift pack in the Harry & David catalogue. I think it was something like $20. And that was for TWO cherimoyas!! Yowza.

  8. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@all – thanks for your comments!

    @Jenny – mangosteens are the bomb! One of my favorite fruits, but so hard to get good,fresh ones outside of Asia.

    @beryl – thanks for that info! Cherimoyas aka custard apples are another of my favorite fruits.

    @daniel – so they grow them fresh in Nanning too?

    @Claudia – oh how I wish I could visit your garden!

    @Lando – fresh is best! But sometimes price wins.

    @shavedicesundays – how did they taste?

    @Carolyn – yeah, they’re not cheap. But nothing else compares.

  9. Mel @ bouchonfor2.com says:

    >This is hands-down my favorite fruit. Unfortunately, I only at 3 this season in Vancouver because the supply is very limited :(

  10. Carolyn Jung says:

    >I saw mangosteens at Cosentino's on Bascom Ave. Can't remember the price, but they were definitely not cheap. Still, it's great that they're becoming more available now.

  11. Polly Bee says:

    Hello! Even though this article is a while back, I am glad to know about it. I’ve purchased Mangosteen from Ranch 99 at Mountain View. I was so glad to find it, so I bought them. A small net bagful about 5 in it for $14.00. I didn’t think about it, but yep!, nothing can beat the real fresh Mangosteen in the tropic then these that gets shipped over from Viet-Nam, etc. They were all bruised inside and rusted. I was so disappointed, and returned for refund. And it is true, in L.A. that some of the tropic fruits can survive and grow. I am babying Cherimoya plant that came from Peru. My friend’s relative grew them in L.A. and sent some to her in San Jose and shared them with us. I kept 6 or 9 seeds…. of all, I can’t remember now, but 2 plants surviving the Sacramento weather. Regardless, good article. This is a good information to have shared. Thanks. And thanks to other folks who posted other info. Now I know where to look for them when I am down in the Bay area.

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