The past several weeks have been prime time for some serious berry gobbling. I would never say that I eat well. If I’m on my own, an obscene percentage of my calories are consumed in the form of ice cream. However, I’ve had a guest staying at my house, which means we’ve been going out and about, and bumping into some beautiful food.
Thor and I went to the downtown farmers market and I rediscovered that mid-summer is a fresh fruit and veggie bonanza.
I bring extra containers when I shop downtown, because more than once I’ve arrived home with fruit mush at the bottom of my reusable shopping bag. The bountiful bargain right now is three baskets of berries for $10, mix and match.
One morning, we poured blueberries over oatmeal. In the afternoon, sliced strawberries and raspberries were added to a salad. Cucumbers, crookneck squash and cherry tomatoes were ready to grab from my own small garden.
When it came time for ice cream, one would accurately presume that a mix of berries was liberally added to each bowl.
Another night, I crafted a simple dish with mixed berries beautifully arranged on a plate, with a small bowl of Torani dark chocolate dipping sauce. To be extra fancy, I brought out my tiny shellfish forks.
My version of “slow food,” is to really savor each bite, and decide which berry goes best with chocolate.
Thor likes geography. Perhaps to justify a second helping, we spent time deciding which part of the tongue registered sweet and tart, and which part of the tongue tingles when chocolate is applied.
The next week, we opted to add blackberries to the mix. These served well with a breakfast of berries, plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola. Berry preferences vary. Some folks savor the wine-like richness of the black, while I prefer the electric sweetness of the nearly over-ripe raspberries.
Peaches also shouldn’t be overlooked this time of year. Farmers market vendors offer sweet samples. This is important, because shopping for fruit makes me really hungry.
I always make a point of buying peaches that are still soft-ball hard, this way they don’t turn to mush when you jostle around the market or dance along to the tunes of a street-corner musician. I let the fresh fruit rest for 2-3 days on my warm kitchen counter, then pop them in the fridge.
When you bite into a cold, perfectly ripe peach, your mouth puckers with the sweet and tart, your lower lip gets cold, juice drips onto your fingers. You can’t help but savor the goodness in your mouth, working the pulp like a dog licking peanut butter.
Soon at a farm near you
The Chico State University Farm holds a peach you-pick-it event every year on Hegan Lane. This is the time to buy a bucket of peaches. You can be a star by bringing a huge box to work and offering them to your coworkers.
When I called the farm this week, they expected the peaches to go on sale mid-month.
My school does not begin until the fourth week of this month, which means one more summer fruit fling before I hunker down to a year of teaching.
Call before you head to the farm. The hotline to check for the exact dates is 898-4989.
My guess is that peaches will make a perfect substitute for any of the food combinations mentioned above (yogurt, salad, chocolate). I’m willing to do the research. My hypothesis is that Torani dark chocolate sauce enhances all foods, even sushi.
Keeping it going
Just for fun, please share how you have been enjoying local summer fruit. I’d love to get new ideas and share them with other readers. Also, I’d love to learn how to make an epic fruit tart.