Happy Thursday!

Last Thursday I visited the All Organic Farmer’s Market on Shattuck Avenue and Rose Street on North Berkeley. A complete novice, I spent my first half hour browsing and sampling all the in-season fruits they offered on trays. White peaches, nectarines and apricots are the best fruits in season aside from your traditional summer strawberry.

The apricots were so sweet, I could imagine substituting sugar with them rather than honey. I’ve never had such sweet ripened apricots in my life. I also sampled the most fragrant white peaches in the U.S. that day. I’m originally from Chengdu, China where 水蜜桃 (shui3 mi4 tao2) (asian nectar white peach or literally “water nectar peach”) grow seasonally. The flavor resembles that of a donut peach but the juice content resembles that of a waterfall waiting to explode.

First of all, I usually prefer nectarines over those orange American peaches especially since the latter reminds me of that boring flavor typically found in canned fruit salads. The flavor of the nectarines usually resemble the original peach queen of China (previously mentioned) more than American grown white peaches. But when I sampled the white peaches at this market, I bought 3 white peaches instead nectarines. The flavor was genuine!

There were also a complete array of garden grown produce ranging from chard, scallions and other traditional veggies. Yet aside from all the fruits and vegetables, I also saw a seafood stand and a booth offering organic butter and oysters.

Before I left, I stopped by the Highland Hills Farm stand for some stew pork meat. It was a fantastic price for such a hardy amount of fresh meat. My roommate and I cooked it for the following week and it lasted us through several stews, curries and a simple stir fry. The farm even offered a variety of eggs, displayed in a beautiful array of colors.

Finally, speaking of colors…have you ever seen such strange plants? Any botanists out there? I met these living creatures on my way to the market. What do you call this cauli-flowering tree and spikey-blossomed vine plant?

Finally, if you go to the website for the Berkeley Farmers’ Market there’s an event this Saturday the 21st of June if you’re interested in attending the Summer Solstice Salmon Celebration!

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