It’s that wonderful time of the year…the weather’s pretty much settled down to “summer conditions” (which here means most days have highs in the mid-70s, maybe into the low 80s: our hot spells are still considered atypical) and it’s stone fruit season!
Last year was a disappointment. I seem to remember there being very few cherries, and most of those not very good. Our apricot tree produced just a little fruit… But we managed, with peaches, plums, etc.
This year, so far, much better:
- My wife had to hand-pollenate the apricot trees (near-absence of bees earlier in the year), but that worked. She thought the apricots were all going to ripen while we were on vacation, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, there was loads of fruit ripening in late June and early July. Too much fruit, really–and I missed a few days of great Blenheim apricots because of ALA Anaheim. Still, for a couple of weeks, we were getting more first-rate apricots (the only kind that really taste like apricots, the ones picked directly from a tree) than we could eat. A few neighbors got bags of apricots… And we’ve seen one or two trees in the neighborhood that make us sigh: Heavy with fruit, in one case ripening now (two weeks later than ours)…and apparently nobody using that glorious fruit. Sigh. (Our second apricot tree isn’t doing well: One bearing branch.)
- The Bing cherries from California growers were good, but they’re gone. The Bing cherries from Washington are here now, and they’re great. (Not as cheap as in some years, but plentiful and excellent.) Dunno how much longer we get them–two weeks? Three?–but I’m enjoying them while they’re here.
- Rainiers, on the other hand… There were some decent local ones at the farmer’s market in early July, but the California season’s been over for a while. We have yet to see any northwest Rainiers that we’d buy–apparently they’re just not holding up to shipping very well. (Too many of them bruised.)
- Peaches. Ah, peaches. They’ve ranged from very good to the kind you can smell six feet away and are just incredibly satisfying.
- As usual, some new-to-us varieties of nectarines and other stone fruit–mango nectarines, black apricots, what have you. Some of them excellent. Some not so much.
If you love apples and don’t care about buying local, I suppose you always have good fruit available. Neither of us do well with apples. So for us, the absolute best fruit season is stone fruit season…and I hope it stays around at least a month more.