June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Fresh this week

In our minds, the Gold Dust yellow peach is so familiar and comforting – we’re some lucky fruit eaters! Every year that we catch the short harvest window of Gold Dust peaches from Masumoto Family Farm, we’re reminded of how special they are. They arrive a little too small, a little too pointy, a little too fuzzy. When ripe they’re so delicate that a fingerprint may bruise the fruit. All of these characteristics make this heirloom peach unfavorable for the commercial market, which is why it’s fallen out of style. Nikiko says that no matter how hard they thin the fruit, the peaches just never “size up”. Yet the Masumotos continue to grow it, nurturing the trees year after year. Once you bite into one of these juicy, silky, and rich-tasting peaches, it makes sense. The Gold Dust is easily forgiven for all of these “flaws”. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey. 

John Lagier and Casey Havre grow some of our favorite fruit: Page mandarins, Bronx grapes, and CHERRIES! They’ve downsized their cherry orchard to just an acre of Bings and an acre of Rainiers, which has only heightened our anticipation for Lagier cherries every year. NorCal cherries usually start up about a month later than SoCal, and John’s Bing cherries are the ones we wait for. This year, a delay in cherry harvest, challenges with the Black Cherry Aphid, and hot temps mean that Bings are just about done, just as they’re starting. John called in the morning and said they were trying to harvest, but they could not find enough harvestable fruit – even on his reliable trees. So instead, we’re graced with Rainier and Bing cherries. (Folks are getting either one or the other, farmer’s choice!) Harvested and packed with so much care, the Rainiers are a treat to savor. They are packed with flavor and the word that comes to mind when describing the texture is creamy. John’s Rainiers are the best. We may even get another week out of them! Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Lagier Ranches in Escalon. 

For the apricot lovers who have fallen deep down the rabbit hole of variety lineages, the Red Cloud apricot remains a bit of a mystery. When Paul Holmes, the founder of Terra Firma Farms in Winters, started farming in the 1970s, there were already a few Red Cloud apricot trees on the property. He loved the flavor, so he decided to expand the orchard by propagating more from those first few trees. Though Paul Holmes passed away two years ago at the age of 72, Terra Firma (and the orchard) lives on. Today, it’s a productive 200 acre farm carried on by co-owners Paul Underhill and Hector Melendez-Lopez. This is the first season in YEARS where the Red Cloud apricot trees have produced a harvest big enough to share. Some fifty years later, despite being sought after by aficionados like jam-maker June Taylor, little is known about the origins of the Red Cloud. But they sure taste good! Store on the counter. Grown organically by Terra Firma Farm in Winters.

Toby Hastings grows some of the most delicious fruit – too many varieties to name! He’s been farming organically on six acres in Winters since 2008. He has beautiful orchards of stone fruit, figs, persimmons, and pomegranates alongside blackberry vines that feed us throughout the summer. On theme with our “golden fruit" this week, we have these crazy delicious Flavorella plumcots. Their velvety skin is the most beautiful pop of yellow, with the occasional red blush. Plumcots are 50/50 plum and apricot, which is why you get the slightly fuzzy skin. And the aroma! Its scent just pulls you right in for a bite! We also have Toby’s Candicot apricots, whose cream-colored skin is speckled with a warm blush. Candicots are honey-flavored with tropical notes. The flavor really screams sunshine and sets it apart from other apricot varieties. It’s reminiscent of a white apricot given its low acidity. Store both the plumcots and apricots on the counter. Grown organically by Free Spirit Farm in Winters.

Farmers Cathy Suematsu and Michael Smith focus on the fruit-growing for Spreadwing Farm, located at the top of the Capay Valley in Rumsey. They grow a variety of stone fruit and this week we get one of Michael’s favorites! The Flavor Supreme pluot has green skin over a maroon background with red flesh. It’s rich in sweet flavor, juicy, and incredibly sweet! It stays firm when it’s ripe. Pluots are plum-apricot hybrids but more plum than apricot – no fuzzy skin. Another variety this week are Spreadwing’s Japanese plums, the Beauty plum. With colors of purple, red and yellow, these classic little plums beg to be eaten by the handful. The sweet and juicy flesh shows tartness closer to the pit. These are often compared to Santa Rosa plums, but smaller, and a little more fun :). Store both on the counter. Grown organically by Spreadwing Farm in Rumsey.


Encore appearances

Jim Cochran has been growing strawberries organically for 40 years and he grows our FAVORITE version: the sweet, tender, juicy, Chandler strawberry. Right now, the Chandler is getting some warmer weather on the coast and is really shining. It’s a June-bearing variety, so its production peaks in early and mid-season. The plants are producing loads of big, glossy, beautiful berries. The heat this week is a bit of too much of a good thing. The warm days pushed ripeness further, but Jim had to time the harvesting strategically so they wouldn’t get zapped by the highest temps. They are riper than the berries we’ve had in the last month so enjoy them quickly! Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport. 

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