I’m up in the SF Bay Area, not LA, but I’ve been stealing loquats off trees overhanging the street for two decades, and maybe 10-12 years ago, my then-gf / now-spouse and I tried sprouting a few of the seeds. One of the descendants is now happily growing in the ground in the yard of the house we eventually bought, after having lived in a series of increasingly-large pots for many years. They can be eaten in a manner somewhat similar to lychees, or can be turned into jam.
There were loquat trees all down the block next to my elementary school in Daytona Beach, Fla. I was the only person I know who ever ate them, and loved them!
Amazing to me that they are all over Los Angeles too - not because of the climate, just because I didn’t know anyone else grew them.
Lived for quite a while in Florida areas where loquats are common. Grown quite a few into producing trees, sampled the fruits of many others. Once in a while I’ll encounter someone else who picks them. My ex made a kind of grappa from the heavy seeds as I recall. Didn’t sample it, but he is an experienced forager. Old, older and very old Floridians will sometimes eat them not quite ripe with salt, like an olive. I didn’t care for them that way, though.
Somewhere in Cali, San Fransisco I’d think, there was a small group who identified fruits available for picking from public access. Overhanging alleys or on the edge of parklands types of places. Loquats were very commonly mentioned. Where I am now people are always suspicious of anyone who might want something growing nearby for any reason. Examine the tendrils of wild grape on a highway access and someone is likely to stop and ask what you are doing.
If you don’t mind me asking, what is it you do for a living? It seems like you’ve traveled a good bit.