The downhill side of summer is marked by the ending of the Northwest cherry season. We are there, sadly, as we still have a few Sweet Red Cherries in the markets this morning, but I’d be surprised if we make it through the weekend. At least it was a banner year!
As we move into the second half of August, a few late-summer items are over the top when it comes to great eating experiences. First on the list are jumbo-size Keitt mangos. Personally I think it’s the best mango of the year. The fruit is large with a thin pit and offers up a thick, creamy flesh. The tropical flavor is second to none. When selecting which to buy, remember the outside color doesn’t indicate ripeness. This fruit typically has green skin with a yellowish blush. They ripen from the inside out, so choose ones that are firm with just a slight give.
Figs and Grapes and Sweet Corn
Fresh fig season arrives next. So far, the year is off to a slow start, but we expect volume to be abundant over the next three to four weeks. A few of the varieties that will come and go over the next few weeks are the Calimyrna, Kadota, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Candy Stripe and the Desert Queen.
We’re moving into some of the best varieties of California seedless grapes. You’ll see several varieties over the next several weeks – all extra-large with a crisp texture and their own unique, sweet flavors.
There are now so many varieties of great-eating grapes that it’s nearly impossible to call out each variety separately, but we’ll do our best. I do know we’ll have the Green Sugar Crunch, Black Sapphire and Kissy Red seedless this next week. We will move through several varieties over the next eight weeks.
I suggest you try them all – we’d be more than happy to offer a sample.
Another late-summer favorite is Krispy King Sweet Yellow Corn from Jake Sterino’s Farm in Puyallup. I visited Jake this week and WOW! They’re picking now and we should have corn in markets this morning.
Jake said he expects to have great-eating sweet corn through the end of September.
Ask Us for a Sample!
The bottom line is that even as summer winds down, we still have a lot of great-eating fruits, melons and vegetables to choose from. And you can’t go wrong with any of them at this point.
Hatch Chile Season is Really ON!
You may wonder why we didn’t have Hatch chiles earlier this month like some of our competitors.
Let the Chiles Grow Up Before Harvest!
There are two reasons. First, we’ve learned that if you push the season too early, the peppers haven’t yet matured properly and their heat levels can be inconsistent. I tried a Hatch chile two weeks ago that was supposed to be hot, but I personally thought it was on the mild side.
Big Jim Chiles Grown at Our Request
The second reason we wait is because we wanted to stick with the Crazy 88 variety for our hot offering and the Big Jim variety for medium hot. Big Jim is one of the original varieties that made Hatch famous. Many growers don’t like to grow this variety anymore because it yields fewer chiles per acre and they take longer to mature.
We agreed to pay more if our grower would continue to grow this variety for our markets. Our choice to wait an extra week or two was all about letting the product tell us when it is ready rather than just wanting to be first to market.
Don’t Miss Our Hatch Chile Roasting Events
As for our Hatch chile roasting events we pushed those back as well and we’re happy we did.
We’ll be roasting at four of our six markets 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26, and then Sept. 1 and 2 during the same hours at three of our markets.
You can see the complete schedule here along with a list of recipes you might want to use with your roasted chiles.
We used to roast only full cases but in an effort to make these famous chiles more accessible to more people, we’re now roasting both full and half bushels.
These are about equivalent to full- and half-case quantities.
A full bushel is at least 20 lbs. of pre-roasted chiles, and a half bushel is, as you would guess – a minimum of 10 lbs. of pre-roasted weight.
We ask that you pay for your chiles in the market before getting in line to have them roasted.
We’ll have some pre-roasted chilies available in the markets in smaller quantities, but these are limited and may be unavailable on any given day.
I am really looking forward to these roasting events!
Have a great week – Joe