Monday, July 26, 2010

Peaches that Melt in your Mouth

Above you can see four of the varieties of peaches we have at the fruit stand now. Starting with the yellowish peach on the left are Delight, Red Haven, Suncrest and Gene Elberta.   All are sweet, juicy, flavorful and delicious yellow freestone peaches.  When they're ripe they're fragrant and soft and melt away inside your mouth.  

Delight is large, firm and mostly yellow inside, with the outside mostly yellow with a red blush.  Red Haven is medium sized with skin that's a dark red blush on a yellow background, and yellow flesh with a sometimes a bit of red coming from the center.  Suncrest is large and streaked red and yellow on the outside with streaks of red running through the flesh inside, too.  Gene Elberta is large and yellow with a bit of red mottling on the skin, and mostly yellow flesh. 

Suncrest peaches are also part of Slow Food's Ark of Taste.  They were written about in the book Epitaph for a Peach by David Masumoto.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


What can you do with an Armenian cucumber that got this big?  You can use it like an uri and make pickles.  An uri is a type of melon that people use to make Japanese pickles (tsukemono).  Since the actual uri is hard to find in the United States, people sometimes use over-size Armenian cucumbers, because they're similar and actually a melon.

I found two recipes for uri pickles from a cookbook called "Nihon Shoku", a Japanese-American cookbook put together by the Placer Buddhist Church in nearby Penryn, California.  The shorter version was called 'uri no kasuzuke', and a longer version that called for a year of curing was called 'uri narazuke'.  Both recipes call for sake no kasu, which is a by product of making sake.  You can find sake no kasu in a Japanese or other Asian grocery store.   Below is the recipe with the shorter curing time.

Uri No Kasuzuke
Uri or cucumber
1 lb. Sake no kasu
1 lb. brown sugar

Cut uri; remove seeds; fill the cavity with salt and leave in shade until salt disappears (about 1 day).  Put uri in deep container and put cut side down; place in large flat dish and put weight on.  Leave about 2 weeks.  Remove from container and lay the uri in the shade to dry, covered with paper for about 2 days.  Combine sake no kasu with the brown sugar.  Put layer of uri, cut side up, in a container; cover with sake no kasu mixture; repeat, ending with sake no kasu.  It will be watery within a week.  Taste the uri, if it is too salty, add more sugar.  If using pickling cucumber, use whole.  It is ready to eat in 2 weeks, but will taste better the linger it stays in the kasu.

Monday, July 19, 2010

White Peaches

We now have many new white peaches at the fruit stand.  Right now we have Babcock, Sugar Lady, Arctic Rose, Nectar and donut varieties.  A lot of people like white peaches because they're lower in acid content than yellow peaches, so they seem sweeter.  The season for white peaches ends a few weeks sooner than for yellow.  We expect to have a good supply of white peaches for a few more weeks only, but yellow peaches will probably stretch through August.  At left and below are photos of Arctic Rose and donut white peaches.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lots of Plums and Peaches

A lot of different varieties of  plums are ready at the orchard now.  In the photo above,  going clockwise from the red plum in the top right corner you can see Beauty, Red Beaut, Santa Rosa, Frontier, Black Amber and Satsuma and Black Beaut plums.  Other varieties that are ripening and will be available soon are Mariposa, Duarte, Laroda and Friar plums. We have a good supply of peaches too, so we're selling flats of peaches and peach seconds.  If you'd like flats of peaches for canning or jam, please call ahead if you can and we can save some for you.

Vegetable are growing well in the gardens now, too, although tomatoes are very behind.  We should have our first tomatoes for sale by this weekend, although the supply will still be limited.  Normally we have enough tomatoes to sell by the beginning of July. 

Here's what's at the fruit stand now: 

  • Peaches--Red Haven, Bonjour, Flavorcrest, Regina (all yellow freestone varieties); white donut peaches, White Lady, Babcock (white freestone varieties)
  • Plums--Black Beaut, Laroda, Santa Rosa, Frontier, Satsuma
  • Pluots--Flavor Queen
  • Nectarines--Jade (white variety)
  • Apricots--Royal (last of the season)
  • Figs--Mission
  • Vegetables--Eggplant (Ichiban and Listada de Ganadia), green beans (Kentucky Wonder), sweet peppers, zucchini, summer squash, Swiss chard, basil, oregano, mint
  • Eggs--from chickens at our orchard
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard

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