Wednesday, May 18, 2016

U-Pick Cherries, White Peaches, Loquats, Take Your Pick!

I start getting excited this time of year as my favorite stone fruits are in season. Cherries, loquats, white peaches, take your pick!  Living in the Bay Area, picking your own fruits straight from the trees can be a reality. Although not literally from my own backyard, it is close enough, with many Brentwood Farms less than an hour away beginning their U-Pick season this past weekend.

I was first introduced to cherry picking by a college friend over 15 years ago but I do not get a chance to do it every year since the season is very dependent on the unpredictable weather patterns in recent years, resulting in no set time frame of the U-Pick season.  But when I do go fruit picking, it is normally for the Rainier Cherries and White Peaches.

Like many fans of Rainiers, I find this yellow fleshed variety sweeter and therefore perfect to enjoy crisp and cold right out of the fridge.  Because of its increased popularity, short season, and higher value placed on this variety, it is usually only available for picking about 2 weekends out of the year.  Markets normally price these higher than Bings making this a great buy at $3.50/lb at Nunn Better Farms on their first weekend out.  Although open during the weekdays, if you plan on a weekend, get there when it opens Saturday mornings before they are picked through by people and the birds who enjoys them as much as we do.


If you miss the cherry season, the peach season is longer often extending into July.  Although I enjoyed the yellow flesh variety of the cherries, I prefer the white for peaches. Sweeter and more pronounced in its peach flavor than the yellow counterparts it is versatile and can be enjoyed crisp like my mom does or softer like my dad does.

One big perk of picking my own fruit straight from the trees is you really cannot get fresher than a just picked fruit. The other lesser known perk and more so with cherries than peaches is being able to sample one to find a tree that you like so you can harvest most of your bounty from that tree.
The one fruit that is harder to find as a U-pick and therefore we buy pre-picked are loquats. Popular among Asians, this is a mild tasting but sweet fruit that are best when it is more orange in color vs. yellow.  Having purchased from the loose section at $3 per lb in the past and by the case of 20-25 lbs. this time, I recommend going for the loose section.  The small 25 cents "savings" per lb you get from buying the case is essentially null by them weighing with the crate it is in vs. just a plastic bag with the loose plus you cannot pick the choice fruits when it is already pre-selected for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment