birds, bees, & astringency
We swear we don’t usually eat stone fruit after September but these Flavor Fall pluots from Free Spirit Farm are a few weeks late and are the perfect fall treat for stone fruit lovers hoping to extend the season. It’s a great way to bid adieu to the summer stone fruit season. With a deep purple skin and golden juicy flesh, these pluots stay firm even when ripe. They are gigantic and flavor-wise they strike a perfect balance with sweet and tart. Store these on the counter. Grown organically in Winters.
The Mutsu apple is a cross between two incredibly sweet apples – a ‘Golden Delicious’ and an ‘Indo’ apple – that was developed in the Aomori Prefecture of Japan around 1949. During our Japan visit in late July, we noticed there were early apples coming out of this area already! In California, Stan Devoto’s Mutsu is our favorite. He knows when to harvest them perfectly so the flavor and texture are fully developed (no mild, chalky apples here!). These are tart, crisp, juicy, and just all around a great eater. When Stan’s apple trees graduate from being young trees to more mature, established trees, he basically pulls irrigation and dry farms them. This makes his apples super duper flavorful! His Mutsu apple trees are all over 34 years old, with some upwards of 50 years old! Store in the fridge to maintain texture. Grown organically in Sebastopol.
Our friends at Filigreen Farm grow these amazing White Winter Pearmain apples. Though we tend to lean more towards tart apples, this variety is beautiful, sweet, and aromatic with some pear notes that deepen the flavor complexity. It’s known as a “dessert apple” but it’s great for eating or baking. It’s one of the oldest apple varieties out there and we love sharing some of these old varieties to keep them alive! Keep on the counter or store in the fridge. Grown organically in Boonville.
This purple passion fruit is grown on the lovely Central Coast between Los Osos and San Luis Obispo by Swift Subtropicals. With drip irrigation, diverse cover cropping, and rotational cattle grazing, Swift’s commitment to sustainable and biodiverse farming is pretty special and we’re all about supporting that! Passion fruit season arrives at the most perfect time as we transition to hardier, crispier fruits like persimmons, apples, and pears. What a real texture and flavor contrast! Passion fruit pulp is sweet and tart with a quintessential tropical aroma. They are ripe and ready to eat now (smooth skin means juicier and more tart) but if you leave them on the counter until they become wrinkly, they’ll be sweeter and a bit pulpier. Store on your counter. Grown organically in Los Osos.
Goldenberries, Cape Gooseberries, Ground Cherries – whatever you know them as, these are Aunt Molly Ground Cherries from our sweet friends Kenny and Molly at Lonely Mountain Farm. These ripened up really well in the heat wave at the end of last week. When ripe these beautiful paper-husked fruits develop a deep golden-yellow color and drop to the ground, scattering below the bush. This makes them unpopular and difficult for large-scale farmers so you typically see them grown in home gardens or on smaller farms. They have super fun notes of vanilla and pineapple but a few in every pint will have some surprise flavors! Store these on your counter in a dry spot. Grown organically in Watsonville.
These Warren pears from Danny and Drew at The Peach Jamboree are just magic. Eating a Warren pear will instantly make you realize that it’s fall. It’ll also make you forget everything you knew about a pear. It's soft and buttery, incredibly juicy, and the flavor is just out-of-this-world good. Warrens are also nearly free of stone cells, the type of sclereid cell that make up the gritty texture in most varieties of pears (and guava!). This is what makes the Warren pear so special: nothing standing in the way of its buttery soft texture! In a world of hardy pears stored for months and shipped long distances, Warrens don’t make the cut, so they’re rarely grown commercially. We’re so lucky to find these beautiful pears locally. Keep them on the counter. They’re best when they show a bit of golden color – maybe even a blush of red! Grown organically in Oroville.
We loved the California-grown Keitt mangoes so much we brought them in one more time before the season ends. These Keitts are grown in the Coachella Valley, near the Salton Sea. The Keitt was our introduction to California-grown mangos and we’ve looked forward to CA Keitt season every year since. They stay green even when they’re ripe and you’ll be able to tell they’re ready to eat when they yield to gentle pressure from your thumb. The pit is tiny compared to the flesh which means more yummy fruit to enjoy and less work around the pit! The flavor is delicious and these desert-grown Keitts are such a sweet fall treat. Store these on the counter. Grown organically in the Coachella Valley.
You can eat Free Spirit Farm’s Coffee Cake persimmons like a Fuyu persimmon: skin on, firm and crunchy, with no astringency left in your mouth. This variety is also known as Nishimura Wase Fuyu. Its flavor is rich and sweet with layers of beautiful speckly-brown flesh (like a coffee cake!) Without proper pollination, this variety *could* be astringent like Hachiyas. Luckily, the birds and bees did their thang and we have ~sweet~ Coffee Cake persimmons this year! (One sad season, Toby had a fuyu variety that didn’t get pollinated properly and they were all astringent! Boo!) Keep these on your counter. Grown organically in Winters.