Masumoto Family Farm's nectarine orchard at dawn, credit to Nikiko Masumoto.

June 26

Flavors of summer

Welcome to the first tasting of a season-long blackberry varietal taste test! These Prime Ark blackberries are the best out there right now. These blackberries are intensely sweet, super juicy, but firm in texture. Sounds like summer yum!! The cooler temps for this time of year and loads of winter rain makes this the best harvest yet for these 4 year old vines. Thea and Andres of Gauchito Hill Farm do a damn good job at growing blackberries (and figs and tomatoes!!), and we’re so excited to share the fruits of their labor with the fan club.

If we had to pick a favorite white nectarine, the Carine is it. Grown by our friends at Blossom Bluff in Parlier, the Carine is a superstar – the perfect balance of sugars and high acidity with a super pleasant lingering aftertaste. The Carine was planted in a neighbor’s test block but due to its delicate nature was deemed “commercially unviable” and never released to the open market. We don’t know anyone else who grows them. They have a short season and won’t be available for long. Add it all up and we feel pretty lucky for getting something so special. And lucky you, too!

The thing we love about John Lagier is he cares about flavor more than we do. And we’re flavorqueen! He knows his fruit better than anyone else. So while we were hoping to have Rainiers harvested for this week, John doesn’t think the flavor is quite there yet. This guy is picky, and he cares. In their place we're getting wonderful Bing red cherries again and we’re marveling at the complexity in flavor that has developed week over week. And they got bigger! Enjoy them for all the fruitqueen moms who can only get them when their children visit.

We’re truly in the season of Moonberries. These San Joaquin varietal blueberries from Coastal Moon are just next-level impressive. We’re constantly marveling at the size, the flavor, and the plump deliciousness of these little giant flavor bombs. Local blueberry season is in full swing with fruit coming out of Sonoma County, the Central Valley, and many parts of California, but these sweet sweet gems are still the best we’re tasting. They are so good!

Jim and his crew from Polestar Farm in Esparto are harvesting something like 800lb+ of Royal Blenheim apricots a day and boyyyy do we wish we could eat that many! Royal Blenheim apricots are beautiful, blush fruits that ripen from the inside-out. Hand-picked, hand-sorted, and hand-packed with the fan club in mind, the attention and care they put into the fruit is so obvious in the quality of these beauties. These Blenheims are picked perfectly ripe, not compromising on any of the flavor that could develop before they come off the tree. We’re appreciative to have friends at Polestar who care as much as we do. 

Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey is in full swing, and we’re happy to have Nikiko and friends down there to keep us well nourished with the most delicious stone fruit of the season. It makes us wanna say HELLOOOO SUMMER. We’re saying goodbye to Gold Dust yellow peaches and welcoming the first harvests of Flavor Crests. Eating a ripe one (with juice dripping down our arm, of course) offers the bold presence of sugars that are balanced alongside acid. Nikiko tasted the first Flavor Crests this week and says, “So a big bite is like a sauna of flavor — the porousness between sweet and tang dance together in a luscious mix.” Get in that perfect prelude to the beloved Sun Crest. The Spring Bright yellow nectarines are here to show you that a nectarine can be firm and juicy but also have a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Nikiko recommends pairing the Spring Brights with fish sauce, maybe a glass noodle salad situation. She says you will NOT be sorry. High notes of sweet sweet pucker!

Photo: Masumoto Family Farm's nectarine orchard at dawn, credit to Nikiko Masumoto.
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