Green Garlic, aka immature garlic. The texture is soft. Eat all tender parts, both white and green, as you would a leek. I chopped off the tough green leaves at top. The flavor of the white bulb is, as expected, a mild garlic, though depending on its stage of growth, you may find it too strong to eat raw.
According to the back inner flap of Edible Westside, there are nineteen farmers markets in Westside Los Angeles. I have been to five. I usually look for familiar objects—onion, arugula, gailan. But spring is here, and if you don't hear it from passersby (One trim female to another: Just look at those berries. Ooh, I must have those with a bit of cream. Or maybe I'll make ice cream with them! The vendor shrugs.), the shapes and colors make it clear.
Blackberries from Pudwill Farms, located in Nipomo, ten minutes from my hometown. I grew up with the owner's kids. The berries taste like a storybook cordial. Lush, deep, like wine and jam. I think of Anne of Green Gables. During the Dust Bowl, farming was a desperate try. You probably recognize Dorothea Lange's photograph of a migrant mother in Nipomo.
Fava beans, aka broad beans. First, remove the beans from their pods. Unzip, snap, or mangle your way through to get to the beans. Then remove the outer coating on the beans. Do this now or blanch the beans, shock them in ice water, then squeeze the beans from their waxy jackets. Fava beans are eaten, apparently, around the world, and I imagine the stories and traditions that accompany them. Here, in the farm-blessed region, in our culture puzzle, fava beans are simply prized for their own sake, their large pods a sign of spring and summer. The flavor itself is nutty but mild. At the cheapest, they cost three dollars a pound, pods included.
Golden nugget mandarins. The origins and breeding of citrus are worth researching. I have heard of people traveling to China to hunt down the best citrus in the world. As you might expect, golden nuggets resemble the rough stuff that first drove people to Sutter's Mill. Sweet, seedless, and easy to peel, these are bred for easy spring eating.
The lone outlier: Dried hibiscus flowers. I bought these from the small Mexican grocer down the street. I have met hibiscus tea in three places: Bangkok, the Mexican restaurant on my corner, and Earl's Gourmet Grub. You could buy these flowers from a specialty food shop, or you could buy them at, say, a Mexican grocery store for $2.99 a bag. That's enough flowers to make at least four large carafes of iced tea.