July 6, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Summer Picks at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market:

Summertime just might be the sweetest season at the farmers’ markets, an abundant time when you’ll find fruits and veggies that are juicier and tastier than what’s available at the big supermarkets. Here’s a taste of the markets’ summer bounty that’s just beginning:

Cherries

Local cherries are out in force at the markets, and there’s only a few weeks left in this year’s cherry season. Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield brings a handful of varieties like Skeena, Sweetheart, Royal Rainier, and Tulare to the Wednesday market on Arizona. Each variety has a subtly different character, and all varieties are from the UC Davis breeding program, said Sean Murray.

“For us, it’s been an extremely good year for cherries,” he said. The family is hoping there’ll be no rain falling on the cherries, because rain makes the cherries split. Sean said 90 percent of the farm’s cherries are exported to Japan, where they fetch astronomic prices. Murray Farms also has early olallieberries, a very tart blackberry variety that’s good for baking. All varieties of Murray Farms cherries were selling at $6 for a pound-plus bag; olallieberries were $4 a basket.

When buying cherries, look for batches with stems that are fresh and bright green, then cherry-pick the big, firm, meaty ones with nice color. Avoid soft or blemished cherries.

Other Stone Fruits

The arrival of Fitzgerald’s Premium Stone Fruit at the Wednesday market on Arizona Avenue is a sign that it’s time again for the summertime bliss of biting into a ripe, juicy peach. For decades, Fitzgerald Kelly has brought tree-ripe stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots – that are ready to eat within a day or two, unlike the hard, sad fruit you often find at the supermarkets. “I’ve raised a generation of customers,” farmer Kelly said.

Early varieties of peaches, nectarines, plumcots, pluots, donut peaches, and apricots, including the Robata apricot, were available last week. In a few weeks, look for the Elgin Marble, a miniature apricot with a big flavor and small pit, the Lady in Red, a flavorful yellow eating peach, or the June Lady, “a phenomenal cooking peach,” according to Kelly. The Arctic Rose is a white nectarine that’s not much to look at, but the flavor is intensely sweet.

Despite the cool weather in Reedley, near Fresno, the acid and sugar in this year’s crop are nicely balanced, Kelly said. Look for peaches that yield to gentle pressure at the stem end of the fruit, he advised, and avoid fruit that has a greenish tinge on the stem end. If you’re buying several fruit, it helps to bring a box to carry them home, because these delicate fruits bruise easily when carried in a bag. All fruit $3.50/pound.

Tomatoes and Summer Squash

Coastal Farm’s tomatoes are known for their flavor and creative variety, and every summer the 17-acre farm virtually turns into a tomato farm. Compared to last year’s cool weather, “the Santa Paula weather’s been awesome; we’ve been blessed by the gods this year,” said Coastal Farms’ Mark Carpenter. He’s planning a huge tomato crop, about 80,000 plants over the summer, including some new varieties that he’s made. The Early Girl variety is a sweet favorite, and there will also be Italian sauce tomatoes, a dozen types of cherry tomatoes, and two dozen types of heirlooms.

Coastal Farm is also famous for another summer crop – squashes – in varieties such as green and gold zucchini, yellow crookneck, middle eastern squash, patty pan squash, and the eight-ball squash. The farm’s first crop of squashes is peaking right now, according to Carpenter. Coastal Farm sells at only the Wednesday and Saturday Arizona Avenue markets and is usually among the first to sell out.

When picking tomatoes and squashes, let the farmer guide you toward the varieties that match the flavor and texture you want.

Eggplant

A few farmers bring this deeply hued summer vegetable to the markets. Yasutomi Farms has indoor-grown Japanese eggplant that makes for good grilling, baking, and tempura. “Growing them indoors gives them a thinner skin; they tend to be sweeter and have fewer seeds than an Italian eggplant,” said Jake Yasutomi, who comes to the Wednesday and Saturday markets on Arizona Avenue. Japanese eggplants are available from June to October. Look for eggplants with a smooth, shiny skin and signs of freshness at the stem end.

Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets

Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Arizona Ave. and Second Street

Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Arizona Avenue and Third Street

Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Virgina Avenue Park

Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2640 Main Street

in News
Related Posts

City Council Approves Permanent Parklet Program For Local Businesses: Santa Monica Beat – July 4th, 2022

July 5, 2022

July 5, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Sony Calls For ‘respect’ After Gaming Developers Receive Online Bullying * City Council...

Landscaping 50 Percent Complete for George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon

July 3, 2022

July 3, 2022

Officials provide update for park under construction By Dolores Quintana A recent update from the City of Los Angeles’ Department...

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...