Seasoned Shopper – July 2022


Meet the Brambleberries!

    There is a lot to know about blackberries and raspberries! They grow on thorny canes or trailing vines called brambles. Most importantly they are available at your local farmers’ market, they are in-season and they taste delicious.
    Most blackberries range in color from dark maroon to glossy black with plump, juicy “kernels” making up the shape of the berry. Dissimilar varieties can differ noticeably in flavor and texture.
    Cherokee is now more readily available and u-pickers at our local farms and customers at the markets love the large, sturdy, glossy berry for its smooth, mellow flavor.
    Olallieberries are another favorite. The berry was first developed in 1949 at Oregon State University. They are long berries and more slender than boysenberries with a shiny black skin and sweet taste when ripe. Boysenberries are plump with a deep maroon color and offer a slightly tart, aromatic flavor. They make great jams and pies!
    Baskets of red raspberries are a familiar summer sight at the market, but this season promises a few more chances to pick-up a gold variety of raspberry. The golden raspberry is a novel variation of the red type, with a sweeter, milder flavor. All raspberries contain many crunchy seeds and are fragile. When harvested, the fruits detach from the central core, creating the signature hollow cavity.
    Choose your baskets of berries carefully. Check to see if the berries move freely in the container – they should not stick together. Refrigerate berries unwashed in a single layer on paper towel. Store for 2 to 3 days if necessary, or freeze. To freeze, wash berries under gently running water, drain and arrange in a single layer on a shallow pan. Freeze and transfer to freezer bags to store up to a year.
    This quick salad for four uses 4 grilled, sliced, boneless chicken breasts, 4 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, a cup of fresh raspberries, ½ cup toasted sliced almonds or chopped pecans, ½ cup raspberry vinaigrette or red wine vinegar and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients, except the chicken, in a bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently. Divide spinach mixture between 4 plates, arrange chicken slices on top and enjoy!
    The Orinda Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in Orinda Village. For more information visit and Instagram at OrindaFarmersMarket or call the market hotline at 925.322.6228.

Barbara Kobsar can be reached at

(Barbara Kobsar, Photographer)
Summertime berries are ready for eating fresh and adding to salads, smoothies, crisps and parfaits. Erik Ortiz (R) and his mother Yanira Ortiz from Chays Farms in Watsonville have plenty of fresh berries to sell at Orinda’s Farmers’ Market.

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