June is Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month and you’ll have the next 30 days to savor peak season produce from the farmers’ markets in Orinda’s Saturday market followed by Walnut Creek’s Sunday market are brimming with dozens of varieties of fresh summer crops – everything from apricots to zucchini. Visit our newest locations at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez on Tuesday afternoons and at Concord High School opening on Sunday June 3rd!
Cherries show off their best “stuff” this month when rich red Bings take center stage. The longer cherries remain on the tree to turn color before harvest the more pronounced the flavor. Lucky for us the cherries destined for market are picked ripe and ready to travel direct from farm to farmers market.
A profusion of bushberries now join the virtually year round crops of strawberries. Bushberries include our local blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
Blackberries and raspberries are botanical cousins known as bramble fruit because they grow on thorny bushes or brambles. Both are naturally sweet with somewhat distinct shapes and flavors differentiating members of the blackberry family – think boysenberries, olallieberries, loganberries and tayberries. The majority of commercially grown raspberries are red, but mild golden colored raspberries come to market on a limited basis. All are hand picked when full colored, raspberries being the most fragile since they are hollow when pulled from their central core. If the hulls are still attached after picking, the berry is probably not quite ripe.
The sturdy structure of blueberries makes them ideal for salads and baked goods. Fresh picked blueberries sport a dusty “bloom” – a natural protection from direct sun.
In addition to lugs of aromatic apricots you’ll now find other popular stone fruits like peaches and nectarines. It’s hard to choose a favorite but trying a sample at one of several stands selling tree-ripened stone fruit will undoubtedly turn up a winner.
Shoppers start looking for the first harvest of fresh figs in June and then again in August and September. Both crops are from the same tree – the first harvest generally produces larger fruits on last year’s wood and the second fall harvest produces a more plentiful but smaller sized fruit on the summer’s growth. Look for Black Mission, Kadota and Brown Turkey figs.
Tender, juicy sweet corn on the cob is synonymous with summertime barbecues and picnics. Consumer preference leans toward the small, sweet kernels of white corn and outsells yellow corn by about 2 to 1. Supersweet varieties may be yellow, white or bi-color and convert their sugar to starch more slowly than old-fashioned types. Personal preference determines choice of color and maturity of corn kernels, but freshness determines quality. The fresher the cob of corn and the cooler they remain after harvest the better – some even arrives at market in a blanket of ice!
Enjoy Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month and see you at the markets!