Fruit is fickle
Wow, what a week.
Between trucking delays, holiday weekend schedule adjustments, and cold weather, our intrepid CFO (Chief Fruit Officer)/Buyer/Logistics Coordinator Joyce had quite the week. You wouldn't know the half of it by the look (and taste!) of the amazing fruit in this week's box, but let us tell you: this industry is not for the faint of heart. If you're reading this, please post an appreciation post/story on IG for Joyce and tag us at @heyfruitqueen. Let's surprise her with all the appreciation in the world before she realizes this note is in here.
[EDIT: Shipping delays. See below for update.]
Ice cream beans win the award for most novel fruit you can grow in the state of California. Strip the stringy edge off like a zipper, as you would a snap pea, and open the pod to reveal a sweet pulp with a delicate vanilla flavor. The cotton candy-like interior turns custardy as you eat it. (The black seeds are inedible raw.) Native to South America, ice cream beans (o sea, guaba) are a legume – in the same botanical family as peanuts and fava beans. Unlike peanuts or favas, ice cream beans grow on a fast-growing tree, which makes it a perfect companion for shade-loving understory crops like coffee. Enter Good Land Organics, who are growing coffee (amongst passionfruit, dragonfruit, cherimoya, bananas, and more) just north of Santa Barbara in Goleta. If this sounds like a subtropical paradise, we haven’t even gotten to the part where the farm overlooks the Pacific Ocean, or that Good Land’s approach to interplanting and crop diversity makes you feel as if you’re walking through a fruit forest. Availability is intermittent, but we’re so happy when we are able to add something from Good Land to the mix.
Well, no ICBs. Maybe next week? Fruit is fickle, freight is fickle, which is why fruitqueen is here to be the resilient buyer for our trusting customers (that's you!). does what it can to be resilient. Instead, friends of fruitqueen and Bay Area restaurant favorite K&J Orchards have saved the day with some first-of-the-season Tasty Rich apriums. It pays to have friends in fruity places, and we hope you enjoy this last-minute substitution!
We’re savoring the short-but-sweet cherry season with another varietal from Murray Family Farms. The Royal Rainier is a yellow cherry with a beautiful pink blush. They are sweet and sub-acid meaning they’re a bit than the GG1’s last week. Some people note a peachy aftertaste in these cherries which is the absolute perfect segue as we’re eyeing the season’s first stone fruit (next week?!?!). Rainier cherries are thin-skinned, delicate, and prone to bruising. The crew at MFF has this in mind when they pick the cherries by the stem to avoid handling the fruit and pack it in the field instead of tumbling it down a packing line. Fruit is love, people, and sometimes that looks like handling a delicate yellow cherry with the same care you’d show your boo. Savor these, they might be the last of the cherries this year! Maybe :)
We’d hate to repeat ourselves, but what more can you say about the Snowchaser blueberries from Coastal Moon Farm? Perhaps it’s best to turn it over to the fan club. We present a haiku, created by compiling fan club member feedback on these blueberries:
Wait, that’s not a haiku… but they have a point!
Close-readers will recall that last week we featured Chandler strawberries from Swanton Berry Farm’s second-year plants. This week we are back to fruit from the first-year plants: a bigger berry that will boast a bit more sweetness as the coast saw warmer temps this week. EDIT: Cold weather (still!). There are actually only two pints. They're still delicious, gigantic berries, but see below for substitution details.
You might also notice there are three pints of strawberries. This is for two reasons: one, if it’s ephemeral and really good, indulge; and two, labor. Swanton’s crew is proudly unionized and therefore commands double pay on holidays (as they should). As such, to make it worth the farm’s time to pick on a holiday, we had to commit to a minimum quantity. We’re happy to do it if it means a fair wage for the farmworker and more strawberries for you. And if you’re like me and somehow can’t stop saying “labor day” when you mean “memorial day,” it becomes all the more appropriate.
This is not an uncommon thing when working with smaller farms who harvest fresh-to-order, instead of working out of a cooler with days-old inventory: the harvest came up a bit short, since the temps in Davenport are giving more February than almost-June. But fear not, we've included some mulberries from Habitera Farms, so you can drown your sorrows in sweet mulberry goodness (not the worst fate).
Three cheers for Joyce! And for delicious fruit!