You can tell it's fall in Los Angeles, not of course by the relentlessly sunny weather, but by the USC colors (our version of red and gold foliage) , the increased traffic around school zones, and the reappearance of pomegranates at farmers markets. At the Flora Bella Farm stand at the Wednesday Santa Monica market this morning, farmer James Birch had this box of gorgeous pink pomegranates for sale. (It was a very festive day, with Mark Gold of Eva Restaurant making sliders under a tent in the market center, and Anisette Brasserie's Alain Giraud handing out freebies from dineLA's truck, parked just south on the Promenade). Birch says that he's already out of white pomegranates–“the Persians bought them all!”–but that, in addition to the pink pomegranates, he'll start bringing Wonderful pomegranates to the market next week.
Birch, who has been growing pomegranates on his farm for the last 15 years, is going to have a lot more of them in the future. He's planting another 500 trees along the border of his farm in Three Rivers, in the Sierra foothills, “so that the deer can't get through.” Birch says that between the deer and the bears, about 25% of what he grows gets eaten. The pomegranate trees grow high (“a deer can go over the top of this canopy,” he said, pointing at the white tarp over his stall) and thick if you plant them close together. “So I get fruit instead of looking at a deer fence.” Farm to table, sans wildlife.