Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In Season: Hear That Rumble? It's Summer Coming!

It's mid-June and already heads are spinning among farmers, produce buyers and customers. Last year's spring temperatures brought crops to market a couple of weeks early, but with this year's temperatures in May and June at times topping 90 degrees, we're seeing some fruits and vegetables ripening as much as a month (or more) earlier than usual. So buckle up your seat belts, folks, because according to local produce maven Josh Alsberg at Rubinette Produce it's going to be a crazy roller coaster ride of deliciousness this summer.

With hyper-local Hood strawberries done, you'll still see everbearing Seascapes and Albions trickling in through the rest of the summer. This week Josh has witnessed farm trucks loaded with cane berries like raspberries and blackberries—mostly Obsidian and Silvan varieties—rolling in, and the farmers are telling him that marionberries and boysenberries will be arriving in about two weeks. Fans of Ayers Creek Farm's legendary Chester blackberries are going to be in for a bit of thumb-twiddling and knee-jiggling, though, since Anthony and Carol Boutard don't see that harvest starting until mid-July.

Blueberries are in plentiful supply, so look for them to be available for at least the next month. And you may be seeing peaches and nectarines in stores now, but Josh warns that these first ones are not the most flavorful—he recommends waiting a couple of weeks for the best varieties for your pies and preserves. It'll be worth it! And due to the vagaries of weather and the whims of the gods, there's apparently a smaller-than-usual harvest of apricots this year, but they will be available for the next several weeks.

Believe it or not, the magicians at Philomath's Gathering Together Farm are bringing a few varieties of cherry tomatoes to market, along with their early Siletz tomatoes. Heirlooms and beefsteak tomatoes will start popping up this weekend and arrive in earnest by the end of the month. (It's a good thing this whole "climate change" thing is a hoax or I'd be tempted to start some serious hand-wringing about now. [Hashtag: just joking])

Other items Josh advises keeping an eye out for: slicing and Asian cucumbers are in now and by next week you'll start to see other varietals, as well as pickling cukes, which should be around for awhile. There'll be oodles of those gorgeously alive lettuce heads as long as the heat doesn't kill them, and—hold onto your hats—early corn should appear within 10 to 14 days.

Look foward to local table grapes, figs and melons around the middle of July, with the first new crop of apples, like Gravensteins, available at the end of July. But, as Josh made sure to reiterate, all of this is speculative: "Only Ma Nature knows the real harvest schedule."

No comments: