Longan fruit & Warren pears
Our new friends at Good Hill Farms in Fallbrook have the ideal climate and topography for growing some pretty neat subtropical fruit! Longan fruit 桂圓, known as dragon eye fruit in Chinese, is closely related to lychee and rambutan – all fruits in the soapberry family. Peel back the smooth brown skin and you’ll find its translucent-white flesh tightly wrapped around a black seed. We like to pop the longan in our mouth and spit out the black seed. It’s juicy and mildly sweet with the texture of a grape. The pleasant tropical musky flavor is balanced with a fresh and welcoming tartness. Oftentimes, imported Longan fruit has a rancid taste that overpowers the tart flavor. As a kid, Joyce ate lots of fresh and dried longan fruit, but never anything grown in California so these feel super special! Though Good Hill Farms isn’t certified organic, they practice sustainable farming practices. Store these in the fridge in a loosely covered container.
If you blink, you may miss some of the best apple varieties that Stan Devoto has on offer. Stan grows over 80 apple varieties organically in Sebastopol and every year he adds more! This week, we’ve got two good ones: Belle de Boskoop and Jonagold. The Belle de Boskoop is a green and red apple with lots of russeting on the skin, a sharp, tangy cider flavor, and dense flesh. One of our faves! The Jonagold is a cross between a tangy Jonathan and a more mild Golden Delicious and has red over a green and yellow background. The result is an apple that’s crisp, juicy, sweet, and tangy – perfect for eating out of hand! Our taste tests remind us that Stan is the OG apple man: he harvests his apples when flavor is fully developed and never any earlier. He also sells his apples fresh and doesn’t put them in long-term cold storage. The apple man! Keep your apples in the fridge if you like them chilled or store them on the counter.
These Sierra figs are one of the newer varieties Thea and Andres have added to their orchard at Gauchito Hill Farm. Grown organically in the Capay Valley, these green figs have a sweet, pale-pink flesh that kinda reminds us of jelly. The super duper ripe ones taste like honey! Fig season is starting to wind down so we’re holding onto every bit that we can. Store these in the fridge.
Stone fruit season is quickly coming to end so these Black Kat pluots are a bit like a last hurrah for Toby at Free Spirit Farm. He grows some of the most delicious fruit we’ve ever had, organically, in Winters. These pluots have a nearly black skin that offers some tartness against a super sweet yellow flesh. The pluot stays firm when fully ripe and the pit is mostly freestone. Store these in the fridge.
These organic Warren pears were grown by Danny and Drew of Peach Jamboree in Oroville. We hate to tell you, but we were thinking about Warren pears before peaches were even out of the picture. They’re that good! Warrens are the rare American variety that boasts the best traits of the many classic European pear varietals. They’re soft and juicy, the flavor is complex, and they melt in your mouth without any grittiness! (Pears are easily the most underestimated fruit we’ve put in the box…don’t get us started!) You don’t see many commercial growers with Warrens because it takes five years before the trees start bearing pears! That’s a serious long-term commitment. Danny and Drew thoughtfully picked these 1-2 days before being fully ripe/colored so they wouldn’t get damaged in transit. They’ll be ready to eat once the skin is completely covered in earthy yellow/brown tones with some red blush throughout, and the flesh yields to gentle pressure. Store these on the counter.
We’re getting random Chandler strawberry surprises from Jim at Swanton Berry Farm and we’re loving it. Chandlers naturally don’t really produce much volume this late into the season unlike other day-neutral varieties such as Albions, Sweet Anns, and Montereys. Chandlers are considered a short day varietal, which means it puts up a big crop for 2-3 weeks in the year (this happened in July) and will get totally knocked out for the season once cold weather arrives. So right now, they’re riding steady with low volumes – lucky us! The Chandlers are a deep red, beautiful, soft, and juicy. If you’ve been eating them since late spring like we have, you’ll notice the flavors have evolved. A Chandler strawberry in September is such a special treat. Store these in the fridge.