Le Grand yellow nectarines are the last variety from Masumoto Family Farm. A late variety that is unlike any other, being both high in sugars and high in acid makes it so incredibly flavorful and decidedly the nectarine flavor that Mas Masumoto remembers from his youth. Though it’s so special, it’s also got some unusual characteristics for a late season variety. It went out of style because it’s a clingstone variety (flesh doesn’t release from pit easily), doesn’t have dark red blushing throughout the skin, and has some russeting (rusty-looking splotches). The flavor and texture of the flesh just doesn’t compare to others though, so we’re really savoring this last treat from the Masumoto Family! *These were picked a day earlier than the Masumotos would normally have harvested because the extended rainy season in CA has made perfect growing conditions for fungus this year. Given the already reduced crop and Le Grand-loving fungus, the Masumotos wanted to save at least part of their crop before losing more of it. Thankfully, this variety does really well to counter-ripen and could use some extra days for the color to deepen and the flesh to soften.
Albion strawberries from Dirty Girl Produce in Watsonville are really having a moment right now. The warmer days and cooler nights are what make this coastal growing region the best place to grow strawberries. It’s not just about sunshine and warmth: flavor deepens and sweetens from cooler temps at night. We love our friends (and family) at DGP, and you probably do too since they’re such a Bay Area fave. Enjoy their berries while they’re peaking in season! Store in the fridge.
Prime Ark blackberries from JSM Organics are just coming in and we hope to see more as we inch closer to fall. We’re moving into the cooler growing regions for blackberries now since places near the Capay Valley are hitting triple digits every day and the blackberries can’t hang with that heat! Farms closer to the coast have blackberries that are flourishing right now. Usually there are two successions of blackberries–a first crop from the younger canes and then a later crop from the older canes that tends to last a little longer. Enjoy the first berries from the older canes and store them in the fridge if you don’t eat them all in one sitting!
Yellow Donut peaches are not as common as their white-fleshed counterparts but we always wait patiently for Terra Firma Farm’s all summer. These are grown in Winters and just starting to come on! TFF barely had a stone fruit crop last year due to late spring frosts, and these didn’t even make an appearance. So here we are, gifted with a delicious better-late-than-never yellow donut peach that is juicy and kinda reminds us of an old-fashioned peach. Store on the counter if you want a softer flesh.
Julep grapes from Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield are the closest grapes to tasting like one of Joyce’s favorites from her recent trip to Japan–the Kyoho variety. Bigger than other varieties, these plump Juleps have such an amazingly pungent, candy-like flavor with tropical notes and the slightest mint taste to round the whole thing out. Softer in texture but not squishy, Juleps are a little jelly-like gift with a flavor reminiscent of a concord grape. It’s like a party in your mouth! Store in the fridge, cause who doesn’t like a cold grape?
Honey Punch pluots kind of resemble Flavor King pluots. A cross of a plum and an apricot, these are grown by Blossom Bluff Orchards down in Parlier. This seems to mark the start of when there are sooo many varieties of plums and pluots to choose from that sometimes we can’t decide which to eat! These pluots are sweet while maintaining a firmer texture, while also being juicy at the same time! If you close your eyes and really let your taste buds take over, you may get the mango aftertaste we sometimes get. Store these on the counter.
We’re always favoring flavor explosions of high acidity and high sugars and sometimes forget that we miss that sweet, floral nectar of a white nectarine. These Viking Pearl white nectarines, also from Blossom Bluff, are beautiful little globes that can be enjoyed firm or allowed to soften a bit more. Viking Pearls are so forgiving in that way, they can please all audiences. Store on the counter.