Time for Tomatoes
As fall approaches the market remains full of many summer delights, including strawberries and stone fruits. Now it’s time for fresh-picked pears, melons, grapes, squash and vine-ripened tomatoes to offer the unrivaled flavors that shoppers have come to expect. Peppers and cucumbers are in abundance and ready to add to your favorite salad or sandwich.
Ponce Farm from Delhi in Merced county brings late variety plums and pluots to extend the stone fruit season through Sept. Pluots are approximately 75% plum and 25% apricot. The taste is a little sweeter and less acidic than a plum. You might find some plumcots (50% plum and 50% apricot) at the market – look for varieties such as King Kong, Jubilee or Harvest Gold.
Plums and pluots come in many different colors and varieties. This month look for Emerald Beau plums and Flavor Treat pluots. Choose those which are firm and plump and have a slight give at the stem when pressed gently with your thumb. If the fruit needs a few days at home to ripen, just pop it in a paper bag at room temperature and check it daily. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Apples are another specialty at the Ponce Farm stand. Virtually all apples are suited for eating out of hand, with flavors from sweet to spicy tart – just choose the one that suits your taste. They should be smooth, brightly colored for their variety and free of soft spots or punctures.
Gala apples are mildly sweet with a distinctive crunch and a favorite for a snack. The spicy sweet flavor of Fuji apples makes it an excellent candidate for adding to salads. If pie making is on your list of things to do, then choose apples from the Granny Smith bin – they hold their shape when baked.
Apples ripen 10 times faster at room temperature than in the fridge. Choose your favorite variety and store in a plastic bag, away from strong odors, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Enjoy and stay well.
The Orinda market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm on Orinda Way. More information is available at http://www.cccfm.org, facebook.com/OrindaFarmersMarket and Instagram@OrindaFarmersMarket or call the market hotline (925) 431-8361.
Fresh Plum Salsa
The perfect snack with chips or use as an accompaniment to tacos and grilled pork:
Four to five plums or pluots, pitted and diced
One small red bell pepper or one large tomato, diced
One half-cup diced onion
One jalapeno or one poblano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Two tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
One teaspoon minced garlic
Two tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one to two hours for flavors to meld.
Makes two to three cups.