Early summer in a box
We feel a sort of romantic way towards Royal Blenheim apricots. Just hearing the varietal off-season sometimes makes our hearts flutter. One of our fave Blenheim growers lost his orchard a few years ago but we’re lucky to have found Polestar Farm in the Capay Valley and discovered that they are so incredible at tending to their trees that they’ve got us coming back every year. With 12 acres in Esparto, farmer Jim tends to roughly 700 Blenheim trees and boy do we wish we could eat them all. Okay so about these Blenheims. The sweet, sweet Blenheim: oh so flavorful, floral, free-stone, the #1 apricot variety (yeah, that’s right, we said it!), that really sets the standard for apricots. Truly its own commodity, in our minds. Store these on the counter, and if you’re like us, we go through 6-8 in a day.
This is *probably* the last of these special Himalayan mulberries (aka Pakistan mulberries) from Habitera Farms as the season winds down in Brentwood. Found commonly in the Middle East and Central Asia, these mulberries have taken the Bay Area by storm this season at farmers markets, u-pick, specialty grocery stores and restaurants. It’s been incredible to see/hear everyone’s response to eating a fresh mulberry: nostalgia, memories, discovery, amazement to name a few. Fresh mulberries are uncommon because of harvesting challenges and perishability. Habitera’s four-year-old trees are reaching 25-30 ft tall, and the branches are shaken to harvest the fruit. A custom-made harvest cart that has a soft net to catch the mulberries is rolled down the orchard rows to collect each tree’s berries, which are then sorted for color and ripeness. When you get the berries home, they are best kept in the fridge for just up to 3 days. No wonder conventional grocery stores don’t want to deal with such a delicate, ripe, little berry.
These classic red Bing cherries from Lagier Ranches are really hitting home. A perfect balance of sweet and acidic, they make us appreciate the delicacy of cherries all over again. Casey Havre and John Lagier have just an acre of cherries on their property, and we’re happy to enjoy these Bings before we move onto another classic–yellow Rainiers! If you’ve been following closely, they have some secret sour cherries we’re not supposed to really talk about, but we may (may!) get some soon so stay connected or reach out if you want to be the first to know. For now, enjoy these perfect Bings for all the fruitqueen moms that can’t because they’re not in the fruitqueen delivery radius (sorry Mom!) Store them in the fridge if you don’t eat them all.
The beloved Gold Dust yellow peaches from Masumoto Family Farm. Historically, a difficult one to “move in volume” in the industry given the size and lack of blush on the skin. They don’t get as big as other peach varieties but boy oh boy they’ve got OUTSTANDING flavor. We’re full of gratitude that Masumoto continues to tend and nurture these trees. Mother of the ever-so-popular Sun Crest peach, the Gold Dusts are juicy and silky in texture and the flavor is wow. This variety has a short harvest window, and we’re so excited to share these with you. Store these babies on the counter at room temp, ideally not touching.
Yes, you’re right, we’re so darn lucky to get a second harvest of Rose Diamond yellow nectarines from Masumoto this week before we move into the next variety. The flavor of these Rose Diamonds is literally so good that some of us at fruitqueen wanted to say they're "the bomb.com" while others of us were adamantly opposed to it – but we can all agree that they taste like “fireworks on our tongues” (Nikiko Masumoto quote from last week). The acid, the flavor, the everything, we’re so excited about them we can’t even string together proper words for it. Despite these tasting so incredible, they’ve also gone out of fashion in the commercial industry due to their size. So, I guess, this week we can call ourselves the small fruits fan club. We’ll forever be flavor fans, advocating for fruits of all different size, shapes, and color. Keep these on the counter at room temp.
As you’ve probably noticed, it’s definitely strawberry season in California right now. It feels like all the farms have them right now but not many compare to the deliciousness of Swanton’s Chandler strawberries, grown on the coast of Davenport in Santa Cruz County. Sweet and floral, the texture of the Chandlers is just perfect. Most farms don’t grow the Chandler variety anymore because of how soft and delicate the fruits are, but it’s definitely one of fruitqueen’s fave strawberry varieties. We’ve heard from a number of fan club members that we’ve “ruined strawberries” for them, so, good luck out there. Best stored in the fridge, if they even last that long.