Saturday, June 30, 2007

Berries- strange berries

I love this berry stall at the Santa Monica's farmers' market. I love all the farmers there. The central California coast, a few hours north of Los Angeles is where it's at. They go to Europe to search out European varieties of fruits and vegetables and before long all these new varieties start appearing in the farmers' markets in the west side and we are the beneficiary of their ingenuity.
Years ago, I could only read about these new varieties in European books and magazines and Martha Stewart's' books and magazines. I remember Martha Stewart making a berry tart with yellow raspberries. There wasn't any way of getting close to some yellow raspberries or even red ones if Ralph's, our local supermarket doesn't stock them. Today, forget about Ralph's, go to a good farmers' market like the Wednesdays' market in Santa Monica.
Today I'm eating wild blueberries. They're tiny little blue berries that taste very different to the regular blueberries. Years ago I own a copy of Martha Stewart's' book on gardening. She planted some alpine strawberries, that was the first time I was introduced to alpine strawberries. Today it doesn't matter how expensive they are, I never pass up any opportunity to eat some.
This year the apricot harvest is pretty spectacular. I've not seen so many varieties and for so long. Usually, like cherries, they appear for 3 weeks and they're gone. What a treat! I never buy apricots from my local supermarket. I remember, years ago, living in Orange County, the only way of eating a decent apricot was to plant an apricot tree.
The peaches, nectarines and plums are arriving with a vengeance. It's hard to eat everything. Sadly the only way to eat a yellow mirabelle plum is to be in France in late July or early August. Maybe one day I'll see them in my farmers' market here in California.
I look forward to fall when the apples reappear. The apple people, 'Cirone farms' will come back in the fall. I know their name because I'm using the pen they gave me. They must have at least 15 varieties. Is this heaven or what?
Then comes the persimmons and the oranges and mandarins. I'm usually in Italy in the Spring and I eat a lot of mandarins while there.

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