Fresh Facts 44: Summer Livin’ in California!

Well, the Kings crested at not 6 but 17 inches over my ‘68/’69 line on the boat ramp last Saturday and Sunday. Carol and I took an evening drive up to Pine Flat dam and reservoir; really beautiful and powerful. Cassie has some pictures to share. Standing on the bridge about a half mile below the dam, is a cool experience; literally. It was 104 degrees that day, but right there on the bridge it was 80 with a 30mph wind pushed by the falling water; a wonderful swamp cooler. And if you look online, pretty much every reservoir in the state is full, a beautiful thing.

Fruit harvest is just peachy. We got through the heat as I said with minimal losses. I think the humidity did us more harm than the heat. There’s a reason you can’t grow organic stone fruit very well in the southern US or in the south of France: humidity. Just like in your shower, stuff grows in a warm moist environment and that’s what we’ve had this past week. As I wrote last week, we do not have synthetic fungicides in organic, so when you get your fruit this week, it’s not table decorations… eat it as soon as possible!

These really are the best produce days of the whole year at Abundant Harvest Organics. Ryan Huckabay’s triple-sweet sweet corn is fantastic as usual. While the team is packing your box, I’ll walk around eating an ear raw. Apparently, this is quite an odd practice from a Hispanic perspective because I get some really puzzled looks, but to me, when corn is good raw, it’ll be good however you do it and Ryan’s, again, is really good.

David Mendrin went through about 20 varieties of melon before he settled on these little personal sized watermelons last year. I haven’t had a bad one yet. Crisp, sweet, not many seeds and really thin rind, and they’ll fit in your box and refrigerator. Bravo, Dave!

Another crop that tells you Summer’s here is David Silveira’s field tomatoes! He picks ‘em just right so they’ll make it to your house nice and red-ripe. Ripe tomatoes are difficult to ship, so we put that vertical piece of cardboard in there next to them to keep ‘em corralled in the corner and to stop downward pressure.

And of course, our stone fruit season is not only at its peak volume wise, but also the varieties that ripen right now are also the most flavorful of the year. By the time you get this, Brittney will have sent out notice that it’s Zee Lady Peach time. Zee Ladies—as you AHO old-timers know—is my favorite peach. It’s a free stone so the pit just falls out when you slice it in half. It has the perfect balance of sugar and acidity so the flavor stays with it through freezing, jam, canning, or ice cream. If any of that strikes your fancy, order some Zee Ladies or wait ‘til next year.

This is July in California. I’ll gratefully eat a whole sliced tomato with salt, pepper, and a little balsamic vinegar paired with a few ears of sweet corn for dinner. Follow that with some sliced peaches and watermelon for dessert after an evening swim and you’ve got summer livin’ in California!

Eat better!

Author Uncle Vern

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