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Fruit Season

It was nice to see that the weekend fruit markets were quite busy. Everyone is required to wear masks there. But, without being too upbeat about it, it does feel as if there are more good spirits there now, than there were in the bleak times last year.

I love summer fruits. Plums are my favorite, although it does depend on the variety. There are no plums out yet. The first peaches I got last week were not good, but the ones I got yesterday are not bad at all. And there were even apricots, quite good. You have to choose carefully as regard to farms; some are just better than others in how they grow and tend the fruits.

One concern is that the number of family owned farms is decreasing. Some of the legendary farmers of twenty years ago, have retired. Sometimes the adult children take over, but some of them do not want to farm, and the farms are sold. What we do not want are those large farms where the fruit is bland. But they sell a lot, and I don’t really know why.

One of the better farmers who had many varieties of peaches, finally decided to sell his farm a few years ago. The person who bought it, kept t going for a couple of years, but didn’t really want to do it, and was looking for a way to make more money off the property. The woman who was running the fruit market part of it, who is very smart and nice, tried to save it, though she did not have the money. It was far too much for me or any few people to buy the farm. Finally, the “farmer” cut down all the trees, which is an awful thought in itself, all those lovely trees. First I heard that he was going to sell pistachios worldwide, then that he is just going to sell the land for development. This is the kind of thing that should not happen. It takes at least five years for a peach tree to grow, and then one has to have the land, the love of farming, and the ability to make a living at it.

There are going to be less choices this year, but there are still a few good farms, family owned. I am told that it will be a good crop of red beaut plums, which are just about my favorite, with a fresh and clean taste. Most varieties of summer fruits are only on trees for a few weeks, and then there is another variety which comes to the fore.There was a legendary farmer, Art Lang, who had a PHD in biology, and developed better systems for growing fruits. He retired some years ago, though, and his son had no interest in farming, wanted to surf. His farm, Honeycrisp Farm, had so many wonderful varieties of plums, and no one else has nearly as many now.

I am one of the few people who go to fruit markets, who does not look for soft peaches. I like fruit that is firm and rather crunchy, though with flavor. The sellers are always saying to their customers,”Just leave them on the counter for a few days,” but I want to immediately put them in the refrigerator to stay firm as long as possible. It requires some fast eating, but it is the best snack I can imagine, to have a few peaches and plums.

Right now it is cherry season, and there are many varieties. The prices have gone up, which is rather understandable, after last year’s season when most of the fruit markets were closed or limited for a few months. My favorite varieties of cherries are Sequoias, Brooks (but only if they are from the best cherry growing farm there), and Bing. Cherry season here only runs from early May until early June, so one has to take advantage of it while one can. The entire summer fruit season essentially ends in late August and early September, so one has to gather one’s fruits while one may, to paraphrase the Cavalier poet Robert Herrick.

And then there is berry season, which is even shorter, but rewarding. Boysenberries are my all-time favorite, though few grow them. There was one great farm where that is almost all they grew; and it went through generations, but the son got married, and decided he wanted to do something else with his life. Supposedly a younger daughter was going to try to make a go of it, but I have heard nothing as to whether they are going to go to fruit markets, they didn’t last year. So it gets more difficult, but there still are a couple of farms which grow berries.

I hope that you live in a place where they have fresh summer fruits and fruit markets. They are happy places, almost everyone is cheerful. People get there early, including those who represent famous restaurants, who buy large quantities of the fruit, which is not ideal, because they then use it to make $40 desserts for Hollywood types. I have run into Wolfgang Puck at fruit markets, but never had a reason to talk to him. I am told that he only goes there to shop for his family, not his restaurants, which is how it should be.

3 Responses

  1. I hope that you live in a place where they have fresh summer fruits and fruit markets.

    Having lived in the west for about 12 or so years Tucson & Seattle, I can say that there is no comparison back in the east where I spent my other 57 years to the fruit in the west. I never knew what a honeydew or a cantaloupe was supposed to taste like until I moved to Tucson in 2000. And berries… Except during the very short time you can get locally grown berries they are mostly inedible if you have tasted those from the growers out west. The ones the growers out west send east have to be picked so early that they are just not the same to what you can get William. The one fruit I find to be better in the east are apples, even in Seattle the apples were not as consistently good as you can get in the east starting in September.

    • I have heard good things about apples from the East Coast climes. And some have lauded Georgia peaches, but I had a few, and did not think they were better than the best out here, but certainly they were good.

      • Speaking as someone who grew up not too far from the Georgia line, the best peaches on the planet unquestionably come from the tiny hamlet of Palisade, Colorado. Seriously.

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