May 18, 2018

Starting to Look Like Summer:
Local Berries, Washington Cherries,
Peaches and Melons

Seems like we skipped spring and went straight to summer with a wonderful warm spell over Mother’s Day weekend. But, not the case in California where recent weather has been on the cool side. As a result we’ve only been able to get G&S Farms White Sweet Corn so far, while normally the bicolor and yellow arrives about one week after the white. Glenn at G&S told me it’s been in the 60s and the corn has just not come along as anticipated. He does think we should see some bicolor and yellow sweet corn arriving before the Memorial Day weekend. Looking ahead a bit on G&S Farms sweet corn, it looks like the Coachella growing area may produce through end of the month with the Brentwood area coming on line around the June 10, give or take a few days.

This week we’ve started the California cherry season from Family Tree Farms with their Tioga variety, which eats better than it looks. We should see their Coral or Brooks variety next week. As always, we are going for the biggest sizes available. These do cost a bit more, but they’re worth it. We expect to see our first Washington-grown sweet red cherries arrive the first week in June. California Rainier cherries are available, but we made the call to not bring them and wait for the Washington Rainier Cherries to be ready in late June.

Sadly those giant Pristine green seedless grapes from Chile are done. We’re moving closer to home with new-crop seedless grapes from Mexico and soon from California. We do our best to source good varieties during the early transition to new-crop grapes, but they just will not measure up to the late season varieties like the Green Pristine and Red Jacks Solute. But it’s not all bad news… varieties will improve from California as we move through the month of June and get even better in July. The best of the season from California will be available August through October to finish the domestic season on a great note.

California blueberries are now available. But as I mentioned earlier, they’re off to a slow start due to the unusually cool weather over the past couple weeks. What we can get is absolutely fantastic—they are big, sweet and crisp. Look for the blueberry volume to increase as we move toward the end of the month and peak from California in early June. Best guess at this time on the Oregon blueberry crop would be a mid-June start with Washington hot on their heels in early July. As for red raspberries, we should see an abundant supply from Watsonville, California, over the next few weeks. Local farmer Jake Sterino is still estimating starting with tayberries and Obsidian blackberries in late June followed by red raspberries right at the start of July. Local strawberries are looking great and likely to arrive in the markets sometime between Memorial Day and the first week in June. This is a short, sweet season and we will promote as best we can during their peak week. Our local strawberries are picked fresh and delivered daily and supply may be limited at times due to inclement weather.

Our melons are currently sourcing from Mexico, and it looks like the California organic melon season will start shortly after Memorial Day. We should see an abundant supply of organically grown cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew during the month of June.

We are starting to bring in our first offering in California peaches, nectarines and apricots. These have been available for about three weeks but we’ve chosen to sit out on the earliest varieties, and now that they’re eating better we’re ready to offer them up. It’s starting out on the smaller side, but we do expect the size and varieties to get even better as we move into June.

Now that we’re moving into our summer season, I’ll do my best to update you every couple weeks on “what’s eating best” in our Produce Markets.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend – let’s hope for sun! – Joe

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