Cherry season is one of my favorite times of the year. Just as spring is in full swing at the Market, here come cherries. It’s the first sign that summer is truly on the way. Cherries are around for such a short time that I have to make the most of them. I always go overboard the first week cherries hit the Market, and probably ate at least three pounds of cherries in the past week. Their season always seems to be ending just as quickly as it began.Steve Erickson of Erickson Farms has 160 acres in Fresno County. He grows several varieties of cherries: first come early Tulare, then Brooks, Tulare, and Rainer. All of these varieties are bright red or black, but Rainer’s are a light blush color. Steve does not pick his cherries until they are ripe. Often times he can judge ripeness based on color, except for Rainer’s which he checks for the sugar content. Next year Steve will have a new variety, Coral Champagne and the year after that another new variety, Attica. Steve does not use chemicals or pesticides, and uses seaweed and egg yolks for color and flavor. Cherries like a climate that is not too hot and not too cold, temperatures in the 80’s and low 90’s during the day and in the 50’s at night. Cherries are best eaten fresh, but keep them in the fridge if you somehow manage not to eat them all right away. Cherries will be in season for about six weeks. Another summer staple on its way into the Santa Monica Farmers Market is the Bermuda onion. Weiser Family Farms, who attend all four of the Santa Monica Farmers Markets, grow this open pollinated, heirloom onion. The Bermuda is the first and original variety of sweet onion first grown in, of course, Bermuda. From Bermuda this onion found its way to Texas and then on from there. Bermuda onions are planted in the fall and harvested in late spring to early summer. It is a mild, sweet, juicy onion and is not an onion that is meant to be stored for a long time. They store best in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. These onions can be eaten raw and can also be sautéed. They are absolutely delicious when grilled. Bermuda onions will be available through August.
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