Sunset

One of the great things about living in California is that every weekend trip to the farmer's market is like a treasure hunt, for rare and mind-blowingly delicious varieties of stone fruits, Asian vegetables, you name it. A few weeks ago at the Alamany market in San Francisco, I felt like I had just found a dusty Georgia O'Keefe sketch at a yard sale. There, at the stall of my favorite citrus grower, from a farm in Riverside, was a bin that said "Reed Avocado."

The Reed is the stuff of legend among Sunset's food editors. It has nearly twice the fat of a standard Hass, I was told. It's giantic, creamy, buttery, one food editor gushed to me, eyes rolling. Alas, the Reed also doesn't travel well, and is rarely seen beyond Southern California. I quizzed the farmer. Yes, it was the Reed. No, they don't have them often—one tree that produces enough for them to sell them one, maybe two weeks per year. I forked over my $4, nestled the gem carefully into my eco tote.

And, yes, the Reed lived up to the hype, to the point that I'm ready to go to L.A. just to Reed hunt at local markets. Or, if I get desperate enough, to order from ChefShop, a Seattle direct-from-farmer mail order company, basically like a broker of western food treasures.

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