Beginning in June, the first harvests of the summer start coming to market from the Southern states—Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas. That’s when the stone fruits, like peaches, plums, avocados and apricots are at their best, and ripe for the picking.
At the end of June, GreenAcres begins to usher in California peaches—always well received. But the piece de resistance in the produce world, and what our customers wait for all year, are the Colorado peaches—there’s nothing better. Those peaches will make their debuts in all of our stores this coming weekend.
How do customers choose the best fruit? GreenAcres produce men concur: “The softer to the touch, the sweeter to the palate.” If the peaches are still a bit too firm, leave them on the counter to ripen further.
Never, ever put fresh fruit in the refrigerator. Buy just what you can consume in a few days and come back for more. “Once you put fruit in the refrigerator,” says Mark, one of our produce team members, “you stop the development of the fruit and kill the flavor.” That includes avocados, onions and above all, tomatoes!
Driscoll—a company that produces both conventional and organic fruit—is considered the Cadillac of all berry production. GreenAcres has huge, juicy Driscoll strawberries, raspberries and blueberries at excellent prices right now, and we carry Driscoll fruit all year long. You might want to grab a little organic whipped cream in the dairy case while you’re picking up fruit…just in case shortcake is in the offing.
Customers tell us our Washington State apricots are the juiciest and tastiest they’ve seen in years. And the Washington cherries—sweet and growing larger with every crate that comes in!
Good fruit is a product of excellent weather conditions from whatever state it comes from. This year, with all the spring and summer rains, the Kansas fruit has been excellent. Our Farmer’s Markets have had huge blackberries and blueberries for sale, and our jam and jelly makers have endless varieties, many with added “heat” of serrano, jalapeno and ghost (!) peppers.
One thing is noticeably missing this year: the coveted sand plum. Kansas farmers who usually prepare and sell sand plum jelly have come up short. A single early-spring freeze killed the harvest. Maybe next year.
Now for produce, the first fruits we see are asparagus, beets, cabbages and greens. GreenAcres carries four varieties of beets—some red, some yellow, some in between. Beets are best peeled and steamed, say our GreenAcres cooks, and sprinkled with a little salt and cracked black pepper. Left over cold beets are wonderful in salads! Good for high blood pressure.
Corn will debut a little later in the season, but the green beans, cauliflower, eggplant, bell peppers and tomatillos are in now and beautifully bright in color.
Tammy, a customer who lives across town, comes as often as she can to stock up on greens: mustard, kale, chard, parsley, whatever is in store. “We juice,” says Tammy, “and GreenAcres produce department has the most nutritious greens anywhere.” Tammy mixes apple, cucumber, kale, spinach, celery and lemon in her “nightly cocktail.” “I love the taste of liquid salad,” she says emphatically. “When the kids went off to start their own lives, my husband and I got real about our health.”
What about prices? This week, Mick’s Fresh Picks include fresh blackberries at $1.99 a pt.; blueberries at $1.99 a pt.; Washington red cherries at $2.99 lb; apricots at $2.49 lb; California nectarines at $1.79 lb and beautiful artichokes at $1.49 each.
When you’re tooling past the produce aisle, this hopefully will give you a guide to the way our produce rolls into all of our stores and make your choice that much easier!