As you are hopefully by now aware, we have tons of blueberries for you this week. And eating these berries over the weekend has brought two things to my mind that I want to share with you.
First is the incredible journey that these berries have made to get to your plate. We have known Carey in LaRue TX for many years now. He grows an amazing blueberry in the acidic soil near Dallas. You see blueberries love to grow in acidic soils that can only come in areas of large rainfall (Oregon, WA, Michigan, and LaRue TX). So needless to say the measly 7-8″ of rain that we get around the Land of Entrapment, just ain’t gonna cut it for blueberries. So we have to bring them in from somewhere.
And so when we have to look outside our area, there is only one question that we look to answer; who is growing the best around? That is how we found Carey. A mutual friend of ours had some of his berries that he let me try. Oh man, those are the ones. So 10 years ago our blueberry grower became a staple for our summertime boxes to look forward to.
The berries are harvested fresh into the afternoon, placed onto a farm van, and driven throughout the night to our doors by 6am the next morning. I have no doubt in saying that you will not be able to find a fresher berry anywhere in the state. Compare that to the store’s berries that are often grown in Chile, put onto a cargo freighter, and then shipped for a week to a port in Los Angeles. Only then does it begin the trip to the store. The differences between the systems and the products are huge and you can taste the difference. So enjoy my friends.
But the berries got me thinking about something else this weekend too and that was the size of fruit that we expect. This summer I have been looking at the produce that stores are selling (gotta see what the Joneses are up to right?) What I have noticed is that the fruit is huge. I mean grapes and cherries that look as big as a ping pong balls.
At first it is hard not to look at them and say “Wow! those look amazing.” But then the realist in my brain is like, “Dude, what the heck, those aren’t supposed to grow that big.” And the only way to get fruit that big is to dump water onto your fields to fatten up your fruit. With all of that excess and unneeded water on your fields though, you know what your fruit tastes like? Yup, water.
So what a conundrum for the grower, do we want great flavor or huge fruit? And we know how most of the grocery stores answer that question. This takes us back to what I was pointing out in the newsletter a couple weeks ago, we need to savor the flavor. We need to celebrate the taste of the fruit over its sight. So I encourage (ok beg) you to try and enjoy the cherries and blueberries and other incredible fruits that we bring you by themselves. Avoid crazy sauces and other toppings that can distract from what the fruit has to say.
I felt like I was at a wine tasting this weekend. I sat in my backyard with a bowl of Paul’s cherries and ate them one by one trying to discern the different flavors between the cherries and the different colors of the fruit. Sure it was dorky. But it was simple, quiet, and delicious. And you know what, those cherries are just as dark and complex as a good glass of wine. So let the fruit speak for itself.
In that, please try and not eat your fruit refrigerated. Sure refrigerate it for longer storage if you need to. But take the fruit out of the ice box before you plan to eat it to let the sugars relax a bit. The cold temp of the fruit will lock up the flavors. So do yourself a favor and plan ahead a bit with these babies.
Other than that this fine summer week, look for the Shiro Plums from Excelsior Orchards to be coming in next week. These are the yellow skinned Japanese plums that always are a favorite with our customers and chefs.