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Archive for August, 2012

Knock Your Socks Off Figs!

It is primetime for figs! The second season is here, which is the real season, characterized by knock your socks off sweetness during the peak time which is mostly August/September when the heat is up. Currently there is a heat wave of 100+ in Corning, CA, 3 hours north of San Francisco, where many varieties of figs are grown including Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Adriatic and Kadota.  If the heat wave goes on for too long it can cause problems when all the fruit will ripen at once.

Fruit will still be available until the rains end it sometime in the fall.   As the days get shorter and cooler the fig season will start to slow down.  .  Read more here about the second and sweetest crop of figs.

Black Mission Figs

Pluots

It is confusing when you go to the grocery store and you see Pluots, Plumcots and Plums on the shelves next to each other. What is the difference? Plumcots are a 50/50 cross between plums and apricots and were developed in the late 19th century by Luther Burbank.  Unfortunately they were difficult to grow and had a bad reputation.  Floyd Zaiger, father of over 200 stone fruit varieties, took the Plumcot and created more complex hybrids.  He backcrossed plumcots with plums and made a new fruit, the Pluot with about 75% plum and 25% apricot. The percentages can vary slightly by variety.  Zaiger trademarked the name Pluot in 1990 in order to market it as different from the unsuccessful Plumcot.  The Dave Wilson Nursery is the only wholesale nursery authorized to propagate and distribute the Pluot trees developed by Zaiger Genetics.

Zaigers Genetics is located in Modesto, California and they have conducted extensive cross breading of plums and apricots to produce a wide array of hybrid trees.  Pluots look more like plums than apricots with smooth skin and no dimple like an apricot.  They are thick, sweet and rich with the flavor of plum blended with the savory flavor of an apricot.  Pluots ripen on the trees in the mid to late summer.  Pluots are mostly grown in the San Joaquin Valley where the winter time temperatures are not too cold and the summer time is hot and dry.

One of the most famous Pluots is the Dapple Dandy, which has also been marketed as the “dinosaur egg.” Some more popular names are the Flavor Crisp, Flavor Fall, Flavor Finale, Flavor Gem, Flavor Gold, Flavor Grenade, Flavor Heart, Flavor Jewel, Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Flavor Royale, Flavor Supreme, Flavor Treat, Flavorich and Flavorosa.

Dapple Dandy Pluot
www.healthyfoodietravels.net

Mariposa Pluot

Pluots come in many colors from green, shades of purple, pink to red and can be solid, mottled, dappled or spotted.  They often have a white or silvery colored “coating” on them. This is a natural, waxy, protective coating produced by the fruit. Always make sure to wash your fruit before eating it. Look for pluots that are smooth-skinned, plump and firm. They will ripen on your counter and you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Best eaten out of hand, try a Pluot Proseco summer cocktail or slice them into a summer salad.

Pluot and Prosecco Fizz

makes 8

By Amelia Saltsman

Bon Appetit July 2009

Mariposa Pluot

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 pound Pluots (4 to 6 small), halved, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 750-ml bottle Prosecco or cava, chilled

Preparation

  • Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat and cool. DO AHEAD Simple syrup can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Using vegetable peeler, remove lemon peel (yellow part only) lengthwise in eight 1/4- to 1/2-inch-wide strips and set aside. Juice lemons. Place Pluots, 6 tablespoons simple syrup, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in food processor; puree until small flecks of Pluot remain. Strain.
  • Measure 3 tablespoons Pluot puree into each of 8 Champagne glasses. Fill with sparkling wine. Drizzle 2 to 3 drops lemon juice over. Garnish with lemon peel.

 

Ben’s Time On The Farm Comes To An End

It’s been about a month since I packed my bags and said my farewells to Tutti Frutti Farm, and the transition back to city life leaves much to be desired.  I long to drive through the rolling hills of the Santa Rosa Valley, covered with twisted and contorted oak trees, manicured with beautifully straight rows of crops, and home to birds and creatures of every kind.  I yearn to walk through the many tunnels of ripening tomatoes, to monitor the progress of  developing winter squash plants, and to dig for potatoes and onions.  Though it will take more time for me to sort through the various pieces of information I picked up while on the farms, I can safely say I’ve come away with a deeper and more complex understanding of the processes of farming and of food distribution.  From seasonality and market influences to strategies for planting and harvesting, from basic botany to experimental farming techniques, from entrepreneurial inspiration to the exposure of endless opportunities for social activism and environmental betterment, I leave the farm inspired and with a new appreciation for the importance of organic produce and sustainable farming practices.  My experience at Tutti Frutti has been invaluable, and I am indebted to the Cadwell family and to Earl for allowing it to happen.

Santa Ynez River

Pink Pearl Apples Are Only Here For A Week!

The beautiful pink flesh wowed me when I cut up a Pink Pearl apple this morning for Earl’s Kitchen Table picture. Amazing! I have never seen anything like it. They are crisp and juicy with a sweet/tart taste. Pink Pearls were developed in Northern California in 1944 by a man named Albert Etter, using another red-fleshed apple called Surprise as a seedling.

Earl’s Pink Pearl apples are coming from our grower Rider and Sons out of Watsonville, California. They are only around for a week, so don’t miss this opportunity to try them! Jim and Dick Rider are fifth generation orchardists and their grandfather, Homer, was one of the pioneer fruit growers in the Watsonville, California area.

Pink Pearl Apple-Rider and Sons from Watsonville

 

 

 

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