Some things hide in plain sight. They blend in, not attracting undue attention, and are often overlooked.
In Southern California, the loquat tree is one of them. Ubiquitous in many backyards and as a landscaping tree, it goes unnoticed until it fruits in springtime. In fact, many people consider the fruit a nuisance that must be raked from the yard and discarded.
That’s a crying shame, because loquats are a delight of the season. And that season is right now, May-June.
They look like a small, smooth-skinned apricot and taste like the love child of a cantaloupe and a cherry, with maybe a tiny hint of tang from lime. You can cut them open, easily discard the pits, and eat them out of hand as a snack or dessert, or chop roughly and toss on top of your salad for a sweet burst.
You might not find too many loquats in Southern California markets, because their familiarity in yards deters people from paying for them, and so growers don’t find a huge audience here. But we happen to have the largest and only commercial planting of loquats in the U.S. right here in my town, and from there they are shipped out to the rest of the country, where people are more welcoming than jaded So Cal residents.
If you happen to see loquats at your farmers market or grocery store, consider yourself lucky and buy some! If you have a tree, consider yourself even luckier and pick your own! And if your neighbor has a tree, go make friends.
My samples came from the Landis Ranch in Malibu, sent to me by the fruit and veggie experts at Melissa’s Produce. They sell them in 1.5-pint containers for about $4.99.
The gettin’s good on these, so get ‘em now.