You’d never know it from the weather – it’s still plenty hot – but the crops tell the story of the season beginning to change. We’ve made it through the worst of the Fresno summer – and it was, honestly, pretty temperate this year, for Fresno, at least. We’ll still have plenty more days over 100, for sure, but the 105 and 108 highs are likely behind us.
We received our first apples of the season in our CSA box on Wednesday – Gravensteins – and on Saturday, Al Pergorsh was back at the Vineyard market with the first apples of the season.
I snapped this picture quickly; I didn’t want to have to ask. I’ve tried to make conversation with Al a couple of times, and he’s never seemed very interested in chatting with me. His apples are good, though.
The start of apple season always makes me a little sad. The summer crops go so fast – when apples appear, it means time is starting to run out on peaches, nectarines and plums. There’ll be stone fruit into October, hopefully – the season is running earlier this year. It was pretty similarly early in terms of timing in 2004, and that year, the crop pretty well wrapped up in September. I don’t want that to happen, but it might, so I’m warning all of you: if you want to eat stone fruit, do it now.
No matter how much stone fruit I eat, when we get to the end of the season, I kick myself for not having eaten more, even though I’d pretty much have to stop eating meals altogether to eat more stone fruit.
But let’s not be overrun by melancholy, as pleasant as that might be; there’s plenty of summer food left to enjoy, like these Flavor Gold pluots from Vince Iwo.
Let me make a quick public service announcement for odd colors of plums – yellow and green plums are just as sweet when they’re ripe as red and black ones. These Flavor Golds are great, and there’s a green variety of plum just finishing up right now called Emerald Beaut that I absolutely adore.
Speaking of green, Michele of K.M.K. brought beautiful frog skin melons – also called a camouflage melon…but I’ll go with frog skin. I haven’t cut it open yet, but it’s apparently a light greenish-yellow inside.
Late summer means the San Marzano-type tomatoes are coming on. These were at Il Giardino Organico’s booth, but Marchini Sisters have them too. These are meant for making sauce, but their meaty, less-juicy nature makes them excellent for skewering and grilling or broiling.
And speaking of fall, John Warner of Flower Garden of Madera and Whole Systems Ag brought the first potatoes of the season.
These are Peruvian Blue, but he also had a Fingerling type and some little tapered ones called Swedish Peanut, plus some others I’m probably forgetting. I have a total potato problem; I had to stop myself at just the blue and “peanut” types – I know I’ll get more in the coming weeks.
After I got back and put everything away, I made a little lunch for me and Chimp – I sliced up a couple of curved squash – I forget the variety – from Il Giardino Organico. I turned them into a simple meal of fried zucchini planks with a parsley and feta topping.