April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Fresh this week

Jay Ruskey is now known as a pioneer of coffee farming in California but he actually started off as a fruit grower. He’s our people: a real fruit enthusiast! It explains why Good Land has sooo many fun fruits growing in their sub-tropical oasis in Goleta. The last couple weeks, he’s been walking by his guava trees almost daily, noticing the green fruits ripening up to a sunny yellow. He was given a few guava plants almost 30 years ago by some fellow fruit lovers. He doesn’t recall the exact variety (or even who gave them to him, lol). This was such a wonderful surprise because most California-grown guava has already ended. These are harvested perfectly ripe and yellow with a beautiful pink-flesh interior. We wish you could get a whiff of the amazing tropical aromas that escaped the cases when we popped them open! You can halve the guavas and scoop out the flesh or eat them whole because of how thin and tender the skin is! Kudos to the Good Land crew for harvesting such a delicate and fragile fruit, perfectly ripe. We love the care they put into everything they grow and harvest. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Good Land Organics in Goleta.

By April, most growers in California have finished their grapefruit crop for the season. We’ve been lucky to enjoy many different grapefruit varieties this citrus season. But every year we wait for Terra Firma Farm’s incredible late-season red grapefruit. They just started harvesting their Ruby Red grapefruit last week. (We’re hoping to get some of their Rio Red grapefruit in a few weeks too.) Truly a classic variety, the Ruby Red grapefruit’s smooth yellow skin envelopes a salmon-pink flesh. The flavor of Terra Firma’s grapefruit is out of this world. We think its extended winter hang-time on the tree lends to its incredible flavor. These Ruby Reds are super juicy, sweet, tart, with really mellow bitterness. It’s just really really flavorful. Love these! Store on the counter. Grown organically by Terra Firma Farm in Winters.

For my money, there are only a couple of mandarin varieties worth eating this late into the season and Gold Nuggets are one of them. It’s no wonder these are Farmer Bryce’s favorite mandarin variety! They have sized up nicely at this point in the season and we’re nearing the end, so we’re really savoring them. The flavor is sweet, delicious, and juicy right now. The texture consists of firmer pulp and segments, making them easy to separate. Characteristic for Gold Nuggets, the peel has lovely citrus oils that coat your fingers while peeling it. These are just plain ol’ tasty. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Blossom Bluff Orchards in Parlier.

We introduced cherimoyas at the beginning of February when they were just starting up for Good Land Organics. There’s so much to appreciate about them but perhaps the most incredible thing is the labor-intensive work of hand-pollinating each flower in order for it to bear a proper fruit-set. Though cherimoyas bloom in July or August, the window of opportunity is short. Cherimoyas are unusual in that the flowers exhibit protogyny. This means the flower starts its bloom with female parts and a few hours later transforms to male parts. Farmer Jay & the crew need to properly time the bloom to collect the pollen (male) and then apply on the receptive stigma (female) for successful pollination. The timing of this transformation fluctuates based on temperature and humidity, too. Wow! We’re so lucky to be eating this magical fruit. This week, it’s the Dr. White cherimoya variety. Flavor notes of banana, papaya, and pear - basically a tropical explosion! Cherimoyas are ready to eat when they yield to gentle pressure (like an avocado). Once ripe, we like to chill them for a bit before eating. Cut them in half and use a spoon to scoop out the white flesh, while dodging the black seeds. Store these on the counter until ripe. Grown organically by Good Land Organics in Goleta.

Encore appearances

because we don’t wanna stop eating until the season’s over!

The Snowchaser blueberry is an early-season variety that seems to be catching on! We’re seeing other growers begin to offer it but nothing compares to Coastal Moon’s Snowchaser blues. They are sizing up a bit more this week but yield is still super limited. We’re super lucky to get all that they can harvest for us! Farmer Darren recently took a trip to Spain to taste some new and different blueberry varieties that would do well here (don’t worry, he’s not looking to replace the Snowchaser!) and he taste-tested soooo many varieties. The breeder, knowing exactly what he was doing, saved the best for last. If that last one STILL tasted good after trying so many varieties and loading up his palate - then it’s a winner! Indeed, it was; more exciting blueberry news soon hopefully! Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Coastal Moon in Watsonville. 

We’re savoring the Frederick passion fruit from Good Land Organics this week, especially so because it’s on borrowed time. The passion fruit season was supposed to have ended in March and it’s been winding down for several weeks now. We were so excited to get just enough from Farmer Jay to share in the fruitqueen boxes this week! Passion fruit’s zingy-sweet-tropical flavor does wonders to brighten up this shoulder season. We may have tiiiny quantities of passion fruit over the next couple weeks, and then it’s gone for four months until its second season starts up in the fall! Store these on the counter. They’re ripe now, or you can let them further wrinkle and ripen which makes them sweeter but less juicy/more pulpy. Grown organically in Goleta by Good Land Organic.

We’ve been loving Jill’s Hayward kiwis this season. It’s really brightened up the late winter variety alongside the citrus bounty! There’s not many kiwi growers of Jill’s size that sell direct to market. Even kiwi growers with similar acreage (less than 10 acres) will move their crop through a packing shed and where it’s then sold under a bigger label. Many California kiwi operations are concentrated in the northern Sacramento Valley and Chico area. With Jill’s kiwi vines situated just a few miles inland from the coast, they get the gentler fall nights where flavor really has time to develop. Jill’s Haywards are harvested months after most growers harvest their kiwi crop, with flavors fully developed and texture at its prime. We love Jill’s kiwis, and it’s been a great crop this season! Store on the counter. Grown sustainably by Four Sisters Farm in Aromas.
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