We’re happy to welcome Kaci Komstadius of Sage Fruit Company for today’s guest blog post. Sage Fruit Company is a sales and marketing firm located in Yakima, Washington. It’s owned by three apple/pear packing companies who joined together to deliver high quality fruit to consumers.
Every summer there are certain things we can look forward to: warm weather, backyard barbeques and spending time with our loved ones. Add to my list, the excitement of all of the different fruits and vegetables I can find in my produce department from June-September. Among those many offerings are a wide range of stone fruit – some of my absolute favorites!
What is a stone fruit?
Quite simply, a stone fruit is a fruit with a “stone” or pit in the center, which is enclosed by the edible flesh.
Many summer crops fall into the category of stone fruit, but some of our most popular ones here in the Pacific Northwest include peaches, apricots, nectarines and, of course, cherries.
When can I find them?
There are several states that are known for their apricot, peach, nectarine and cherry production, but here in Washington (PNW), our harvest typically occurs from June through September for those four commodities. Cherries are the first off the trees in early June, followed closely by apricots. By mid-July, we begin harvest of nectarines and peaches. Cherry and apricot harvest usually lasts until late-July/mid-August, depending on the year, and our peaches and nectarines finish end-Aug/mid-Sept.
- Dark Sweet Cherries: The most abundant type of cherry to come out of the PNW! The Northwest Cherry Season lasts from the first week of June until August. Cherries are one of the freshest produce items available. Ripened on the tree, cherries are generally harvested, packed and on the road to the grocery stores within 2 days. They are dark red in color and sweet in flavor. Cherries are a low-calorie fruit, and are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They are rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and a moderate source of potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and fiber.
- Rainier Cherries: The Rainier cherry is a cross between the Bing and the Van varieties. It gets its name after the highest peak in the state of Washington. Attractive and exceptionally large, this cherry is yellow with a bright red blush. Additionally, it is delicately flavored with extraordinary sugar levels.
- Peaches: The Pacific Northwest peach harvest occurs July-September each year. Their flesh ranges in color from whitish to yellow. Peaches with a lighter colored flesh tend to be very sweet with little acidity, whereas yellow fleshed peaches have an acidic tang paired with its sweetness. They have a delicate aroma, and a skin that is velvety. Depending on the pit, peaches are classified as either freestone or cling varieties. A freestone peach can have its center stone easily removed from the flesh because it is not attached. In contrast, the center stone of a semi-cling peach is strongly attached to the flesh.
- Nectarines: Nectarines and peaches are closely related. However, they do have one visible difference, which is their skin. Unlike peaches, nectarines are smooth. Their skin is brightly colored gold with hues of ruby and pink throughout. You can find two-types of nectarines, yellow fleshed and white fleshed. White fleshed nectarines typically have low acidity and are very sweet. Yellow fleshed nectarines have a higher acidity and their flavor is both sweet and tart.
- Apricots: Apricots have a similar shape and appearance to a peach, but are smaller in size. Their color ranges from yellow to orange, and often has a tinge of red. The surface of an apricot can be smooth or velvety, with very short hairs. Its flesh is firm with a flavor that can range from sweet to tart.
Fresh Cherry Salsa
This salsa is delicious on chicken or pork tacos and is a great topping for grilled fish or fowl! It is not too spicy but full of flavor!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- 4 cups of fresh Dark Sweet Cherries, stems removed, pitted
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 (4 oz.) can chopped chilies, undrained
- ¼ tsp. minced garlic
- 2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes., chopped
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium size bowl mix all the ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste and store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Salsa will keep well for 4 days in the refrigerator.