May 2, 2024

May 2, 2024

Fresh this week

The tamarillo, aka the tree tomato, is in the Solanaceae family along with tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes. But tamarillos grow in a tree-like habit with perennial leaves, and in this case, these trees are about 8 feet tall! Tamarillos are native to the Andes and are popular in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and more recently, New Zealand. A few weeks ago, Farmer Jay mentioned that the tamarillos were ripening up. We both agreed that in recent years, the tamarillo crop has been less than impressive. He suggested I try them again because this year, the flavor was different. He thinks the cold spell a few weeks ago amplified…something. We agree and we’re wild about them!! The flesh is tart, sweet, and savory, with swirling floral notes of passion fruit and papaya. Cut them in half and scoop out the flesh to enjoy. (The skins are edible but intensely bitter.) Store on the counter. Grown organically by Condor Ridge Ranch in Goleta.


Murray Family Farms produces some of the earliest organic cherries in California. This week, we’re kicking off the OG cherry season with Arvinglenn red cherries. They’re a ruby red cherry with a balanced sweet-tart flavor and a firm texture. Murray has a reputation for their sweet cherries throughout Southern California. Though the Bakersfield area produces cherries ahead of most other CA regions, Murray uses innovative techniques to speed the season’s arrival, such as placing white tarps in the orchard’s rows to reflect more light onto the blossoms. These first-to-ripen cherries are never perfect. They tend to have more of those misshapen cherries fused to the sides of ripe ones, called spurs, than we’d like. Flavor not yet at its full potential. But cherries are nostalgic, and a sweet cherry in the first week of May is something to be celebrated! Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Murray Family Farm in Bakersfield. 


These California-grown cherimoya have been such a welcome dose of tropical flavor through the late winter months. The last of the season’s harvest is approaching. Just one week left of Booth cherimoya from Goleta! Inside the reptilian green skin is a soft and custardy flesh studded with black seeds. The flesh has flavors of banana, pineapple, and pear but this variety is known for having the most cherimoya-ey flavors which for us, is stronger pineapple notes. Leave your cherimoya on the counter until it gives a little when pressed gently, like a ripe avocado. It may take just one or two days. At this point, you can move it to the fridge for a few more days to extend its shelf life, or cut it in half and scoop out the flesh to enjoy. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Condor Ridge Ranch in Goleta.


Last week’s late-season Nagami kumquats from Fallbrook were quite tart. This week we’ve sourced them from further north and they are sweeter with a more tender skin. Some have deep, bright orange skin that previews the flavor within. Others are a bit greenish, which we instinctively take to mean the fruit is underripe. But you may find those to be quite sweet too. (Some citrus actually ripens from green to full color and then back to green again as the season draws to a close.) If you’ve never had a kumquat, the skin is sweet and the flesh is super tart and juicy. The narrow window when kumquat and berry seasons overlap is springtime magic. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Murray Family Farm in Bakersfield.


Encore appearances

Coastal Moon's Snowchaser blueberries are the first to come on and are an easy highlight of early spring. They have what we like to call an intensity of flavor – they taste like a blueberry, but more so. They taste like what a blueberry SHOULD taste like! Yields have suffered a bit this year, making the fruit a bit more limited, but the flavor is there. And we do our due diligence! (Farmer Garrett is always so gracious about our impromptu u-pick visits :) Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Coastal Moon in Freedom.


Swanton Berry Farm’s Chandler strawberries!! This feels incredibly momentous – we’ve made it to another strawberry season! Jim Cochran has been growing strawberries organically for nearly 40 years and he grows our FAVORITE version: the sweet, tender, juicy, Chandler strawberry. These are first year plants which means these baby plant starts were put in the ground in the fall of 2023 and are now producing. First year plants typically produce really big berries and are abundant in yield! Store in the fridge. Grown organically by Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport. 


The Ojai Valley is the best Pixie-growing region in California and Jim Churchill grows some of the most delicious fruit we’ve ever had. Churchill’s Pixie mandarins are here! By waiting until late April to start harvest, the mandarins have had time to really develop their sugars and full flavor. Store on the counter. Grown organically by Churchill Orchard in Ojai.

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