Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month
June, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, also provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of our farming community. Disruptions in our food supply over the past year bring a renewed respect to the people who grow our food to fill our shopping bags comfortably.
Peak season is here! For the next few months farmers’ markets offer the largest selection of local fresh fruits and vegetables, along with baked goods, hot foods, crepes, smoothies, tomales, jams and honey.
Blueberries are a June favorite. We are rewarded after a long winter wait with baskets and buckets of luscious blueberries.
Blueberries carry deep roots in our country’s history. Cultivation of large blueberries began in the early 1900s after wild blueberries were used year-round in many forms (fresh, dried and crushed) in Colonial times.
Look at the blossom end (calyx) of a blueberry. It forms a 5-pointed star. Folklore has it that tribal elders told the story of how the great spirit sent “star berries” to ease children’s hunger during a famine.
Blueberry varieties differ only slightly in size and flavor. Fresh-picked is always best for optimum crunch, texture and sweet flavor. Always look for plump, firm blueberries with a light grayish “bloom.”
Beans are another welcome sight at markets and enjoy a long season. Snap beans and other edible pod beans such as purple wax beans, scarlet runner beans and yardlong beans are first to arrive on the scene. They are eaten in their entirety, pod and all. Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake beans are preferred for their rich flavor and haricots verts for their delicate texture.
Fava beans are a type of fresh shell bean. They are harvested when the seeds are full-sized but not yet dry. All fresh shell beans can be used interchangeably with some adjustments in cooking time. Keep a look out for more shell beans to arrive later in the season – cranberry beans, edamame and lima beans.
The Orinda market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in Orinda Village. More information is available at http://www.cccfm.org, facebook.com/OrindaFarmersMarket and Instagram at OrindaFarmersMarket or call the market hotline 925.431.8361.
Barbara Kobsar sells her Cottage Kitchen jams and jellies at the JAM STAND at the Saturday Orinda market and Sunday Walnut Creek market. She is also president of CCCFM (Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market) Association Board of Directors.