Berries are still going strong, but time is running out on a couple popular varieties we get from Sterino Farms in Puyallup.
Tayberries already are finished, and gold raspberries are winding down fast. Red raspberries have about 10 days left, but the supply shrinks with each passing day. Currants and gooseberries should be plentiful through the end of the month. As for blackberries, they will be plentiful through August and possibly into September. We will move through several blackberry varieties over the next several weeks. So far, it’s been another great year for Sterino berries.
We have found a source for Northwest strawberries – the Albion variety – at Unger Farms in Cornelius, Ore., west of Portland. Managed by a third-generation farming Unger, with an agriculture degree from Oregon State University, this 144-acre operation sells its berries at many Portland metro area farmers’ markets. Supply may be limited by weather and harvest schedule over the next several weeks.
Skagit Valley Blueberries Come on Strong
We expect to see our first deliveries to the markets this weekend.
Two of our farming partners, Hayton Farms and Skagit Sun, tell me they’re feeling like it’s going to be a big crop with the peak of harvest over the next three weeks.
Look for both organic and conventional blueberries to make it all the way to our Big Board Buys July 18.
No Blush? No Flavor. No Go.
It’s been a banner year for Northwest cherries. We are so glad we decided to commit to an export-grade Rainier cherry this season. The fruit has been spectacular all season long. Unfortunately, we see the end in sight for Washington Rainiers – they will be but a memory very soon. Basically we are day to day as to whether we’ll get Rainiers, because it’s important they have that bright red blush with a yellow background. Once we start to see all yellow with little or no red blush it will be time to call it done. No blush means no sugar or flavor. And that means no go.
Red cherries also are beginning to wind down, but we feel we still have three to four weeks of great quality fruit available. And I have to say again – it’s been a banner year for Washington red cherries – so enjoy them while you can.
Turlock Melons Begin Arriving
A variety of melons from our favorite melon grower – Turlock Fruit Co., of Turlock Calif. – arrive this coming week. We already have cantaloupe and emerald honeydew from Turlock, and we expect orange honeydew and Galia melons to arrive Monday or Tuesday. The orange honeydew is my favorite, but don’t underestimate the eating experience of other varieties. Turlock melons are simply the best. Try creating a mixed melon bowl by combining the emerald and orange honeydews. I believe it will, in fact, knock your proverbial socks off. We plan to promote melons with great prices in late July or early August. We’re trying to time this for when Turlock has the widest variety of melons at peak eating quality. Also look for an organic option in cantaloupe, emerald honeydew and mini seedless watermelon from Del Bosque Farms in Fresno County, Calif. All eat great!
We’ll transition to Washington-grown peaches from Gunkel Orchards near Goldendale over the next several days. Dan Gunkel tells me the fruit looks and eats great and he expects a great supply through early September.
For something out of the ordinary, try a Plumogranate Plumcot (Pluot) from Family Tree Farms near Fresno, Calif. This is a proprietary variety (with a long confusing name!) that is a cross between a plum and an apricot (about three-quarters plum) and it’s incredibly sweet. The Plumogranate gets its name from the blood red interior of the fruit. This is a must-try item. Also arriving this weekend from Family Tree are Golden Treat plumcots. This variety leans a little more toward the apricot parentage and is a green-turning-to-yellow color. These also eat great and have their own unique flavor.
Sterino Farms (quick trip back to Washington here) did manage to grow sweet basil this year. If you remember our big “basil bouquets’ three years ago, you’ll know what to expect. We should have a good supply of Jake’s bunched sweet basil for the next couple weeks. If you are interested in making your own pesto, now would be the time! We have a great recipe for classic basil pesto on our website.
Lastly, we’re now into the full line up of organic cherry tomatoes from Durst Farms northwest of Sacramento, Calif. These are so sweet and flavorful that of if you’re looking for a snack, you can pop them into your mouth like popcorn!
Keep enjoying summer! – Joe