By Carolyn Twesten, Weaver Street Market Produce Merchandiser
This week’s owner coupon is 25% off stone fruit. Learn more about the coupon below.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Stone fruit season! What exactly IS a stone fruit? It is any type of fruit that contains a pit, or “stone.” This includes apricots, cherries, nectarines, pluots, plums, and of course, peaches!
Only in Season
Stone fruits are a category of fruit that Weaver Street Market typically only carries in season because an out-of-season peach shipped from the Southern Hemisphere in the dead of winter is just a pale, sad imitation of itself, while a Southern peach in mid-July is the sweetest, juiciest piece of fruit you can get your hands on.
Our peaches come to us from several local orchards. The first of the season peaches arrive from Titan Farms in South Carolina, then quickly transition to Pee Dee Orchards in the sandhills of North Carolina. But we think the best tasting peaches come from Deal Orchards in Taylorsville, NC, in Alexander County. These usually arrive to us in late June or early July.
Deal Orchard Peaches
Lindsay Deal of Deal Orchards is a third generation orchardman. He and his family raise peaches, nectarines, apples, and pears on 100 acres in the Brushy Mountains.
All three of Lindsay’s children work in the business and plan to continue his legacy. Lindsay’s son Alan is modernizing the business by improving on the orchard’s pest control methods. They’ve begun using integrative pest management, a practice used by both conventional and organic farmers to reduce the need for chemical or organic sprays. This includes scouting for pests and using sticky cards to monitor pest populations, as well as using mating disruptive pheromones. They’ve reduced their use of organophosphates as a result.
While peaches seem to reign as everyone’s all-time favorite stone fruit, there are so many other stone fruits to try that may just steal your heart away. My favorite is the plumcot, more popularly known as the pluot, or occasionally the aprium. The names give away the parentage of the plumcot: they are simply a natural hybrid of a plum and an apricot. Last year I had the opportunity to taste at least a dozen types of plumcots during a visit to one of the premier tree-fruit ranches in the country, Family Tree Farms in Reedley, California. (And yes, I did end up with a bit of a stomachache from eating so much fruit!)
Family Tree Farms raises proprietary varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, and plumcots on 5000 acres in the Central Valley of California. They have traveled the world in search of the most flavorful fruit varieties, and even have a full-time plant breeder on staff that works entirely on breeding and trialing new varieties; varieties such as the Midnight Rose aprium, Dapple Dandy plumcot, and the Nectapie donut nectarine.
It’s amazing to see the amount of research and labor that goes into producing a crop of delicious fruit. From the science of integrated pest management that I mentioned above, to the art of pruning a tree just right so that sunlight can penetrate the leaves to color the fruit. At Family Tree Farms they say they are “light farmers,” as the sunlight is essential to develop the fruit buds, as well as to produce the sugars and colors. All to bring the tastiest fruit to their customers!
How to Get the Perfect Piece of Fruit
To ensure that you end up with a perfect piece of fruit to enjoy, buy the fruit when it is firm. Fruit that is already soft may end up bruised by the time you get it home. The best way to ripen stone fruit is at room temperature. I like to ripen my peaches and nectarines in a paper bag so that the ethylene, a natural gas emitted by the fruit as it ripens, is trapped and concentrated to hasten ripening.
This week’s owner coupon is 25% off stone fruit , good through July 31, 2019. Owners, look for the coupon in our weekly e-news, sent on Wednesday morning. If you didn’t get the coupon, you may need to update your email address in our owner database. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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