This time of year, you could stumble through our Produce Markets with a blindfold wrapped around your noggin and still find something amazing to eat. And the next couple weeks are very special because it’s the Washington cherry’s time to shine.
Premium Northwest Rainier cherries are on our Big Board for just $5.98 lb., a savings of $4. There’s only about two weeks to this season and when they no longer peak, we no longer sell. The Rainier cherry is a yellow-ish cherry that’s delicate, crisp, with a bit of tartness on the finish. Look for more red than yellow for the sweetest, most flavorful ones.
This Saturday (Friday if we’re lucky) we’ll have another extra-special treat: Private Reserve red cherries from Gunkel Farms in Goldendale, overlooking the Columbia River. These dark red cherries are hearty and rich, with lots of flavor and sweetness. We’re the only markets in the area who have them!
Fresh Northwest cherries are probably best eaten ripe by the handful from our market, but their flavor can absolutely transform a summer recipe, too. Try our Fresh-Fruit Clafouti recipe with cherries, figs, peaches or any other fresh fruit you love to experiment with.
Whether we’re talking Rainier or Gunkel Private Reserve cherries, we’re only offering the biggest and the best, the absolute maximum cherry you can wrap around a pit. It’s called “export grade” in the Produce biz, but what does that even mean to laypeople like you and me?
Simply put — it’s the cream of the crop. When growers export their crops overseas to China or Europe, they only the send the heartiest and best-tasting part of their harvest. Why? Because if that fruit or vegetable shows up at the port and the purchasing country doesn’t like it — for whatever reason — they can just say “No, thanks. Not good enough,” and that grower is out a whole boat-load of money. Literally. So you better believe they’re not messing around when they send their shipments, hence the term “export grade.” Here’s the good news: We’re bringing the export-grade quality to you!
Expand Your Grilling Repertoire with Cheese
The Fourth of July is coming up soon and I’m looking forward to enjoying it with my partner, my 1-year-old son and his grandparents “Pop Pop” and “Gee Gee.”
And while there’s so many fun foods to get excited about throwing on the grill for the holiday (more on that next week), there’s one food trend that gets bigger very year but is still a little under the radar. That is the delicious world of grilling cheeses. Their lower-fat content makes them perfect for searing over a fire without melting all over the place. They’re such an easy and delicious way to shake up the grilling routine with interesting flavor. Nice for your meat-averse friends, too.
Halloumi cheese is a firm, brined, Greek staple with just a hint of mint. It’s perfect skewered alongside grilled meats or sliced into 1/2-inch slabs and grilled with zucchini, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers – you name it!
Jenny Nichols, our Market Manager at Ballard Market, once described the flavor of grilled halloumi as “the cheese that oozes out of a grilled cheese sandwich onto the pan and gets a little crispy.” Yum! Try it in our delicious and easy-to-make Grilled Halloumi Salad recipe.
Rougette Bonfire cheeses are also a fun way to dip your toes into the grilling cheese universe with almost no prep, making them perfect for dinner parties. Their soft-ripened cheese is ready to go on the grill right out of the package and their savory semi-soft version is marinated in herbs and oil with its own ready-to-grill pan. Rougette’s grilling cheeses are also lactose- and gluten-free, and their parent company, Käserei Champignon, has been around for 100 years. They might know a little something about cheese!
The first grilling cheese I ever tried was Carr Valley Bread Cheese. I was hooked immediately. You don’t HAVE to grill it per se, but, you absolutely SHOULD grill it, I say. Just throw it on the fire right out of the package. Easy peasy. It’s tender and golden-brown with a pleasant, salty flavor, but still light on its feet by not being too oily or heavy. Which, of course, is dangerous if you’re trying not to eat a whole pound of this deliciousness.
Our very own cheese whiz, Shauna Howell, offers up a cheese worth discovering.
Beecher’s New Woman - Made right here in Seattle, Beecher’s New Woman is an earthy, slightly spicy creation that is flavored with Jamaican Jerk seasoning. Part of Beecher’s original line up, this cheese was originally titled “No Woman” (after the Bob Marley song) hence the Caribbean-style seasoning.
But even after its makeover, it’s still loaded with sweet, spicy jerk and makes for a really interesting cheese board cheese. Also an amazing melt for a grilled chicken breast sandwich.
Chris Allen is a copywriter and assistant marketer with Town & Country Markets. He’s a former contributing editor, radio anchor and producer, and an Air Force veteran. He’s also mastered the art of chopping red onions with one hand while sipping a dry Tempranillo in the other.