Search out 'Asian' Markets in the US to buy Dragon Fruit Fresh or Dried
Perhaps because of a little bit of the grey market aspect of a lot of less regulated fresh fruit sellers in Asian markets in the US, you may find you can buy pitaya fruit fresh in the Asian markets in larger US cities like New York City Chinatown. You probably will see the white fleshed dragon fruit instead of the purple fleshed fruit or pink fleshed fruit. The white fleshed fruit seems a bit more common. Prices vary, but you might expect to pay about $4 per lb for the white fleshed fruit. The pink fleshed, red fleshed, or purple fleshed fruit may cost up to twice as much depending upon how much sweeter it is and the size of the fresh fruit piece.
Deciding to buy Fresh Pitaya Fruit vs Dried Pitaya Fruit
Comparing the fresh pitahaya fruit to the dried pitahaya fruit is almost like comparing apples and orange. More so than for many other dried fruits (like dried apricots, or dried apples) the fresh dragon fruit and dried dragon fruit differ tremendously. Think of the difference more like the difference between a fresh grape and a raisin than a fresh apricot and a dried apricot. In the chewy dried dragon fruit the seeds go along for the ride and aren't really noticeable, but in the fresh dragon fruit the seeds are very prominent in texture. If you have access to both dried and fresh pitaya fruit, you can compare yourself. Generally, the dried pitaya fruit is better eaten along with other foods as when added to a mixed salad with lots of dried fruit and nuts.