The transition from summer to fall is upon us and this week we are offering a significant mix of fall fruits and vegetables from several local farms for upcoming menu changes:
We start the first week of fall with several varieties of apples from Larsen Apple Barn, one of the many growers located in the area known as Apple Hill, in Camino, El Dorado County. The Apple Hill Growers Association, of which Larsen Apple barn is a member, is comprised of more than 50 independently owned farms and ranches that offer a variety of locally grown mountain fruit. Though the main attraction is apples and apple products-pies, jams, jellies and cider-additional businesses in Apple Hill include Christmas tree farms, restaurants and wineries. Locals and tourists alike can easily spend a day touring the area and early in the week is a great time to go as weekend traffic quickly slows down the ride. Larsen Apple Barn is the oldest family owned and operated farm in the area. Larsen offers over a dozen varieties of apples during the season as well as local peaches, pears and grapes, along with fresh apple cider, honey and pumpkins. Apple Hill apples are seasonal, the harvest running from late summer until early December. The following varieties are available this week and other varieties will follow:
This week the sun is out, the temperature is rising and asparagus is in season. The harvest was delayed for about two weeks due to winter weather, then, once started, Delta asparagus became quickly available-this is actually the third week that we have had local asparagus in stock. Nearly 80% of the 200 million pounds of fresh asparagus grown in the United States comes from California. Due to increased competition from other countries, planted acreage of the crop is down from 36,000 acres seven years ago to just 16,000 acres being planted this year. Though available year round from various parts of the world, asparagus is at its best when the crop originates from the Sacramento Delta region. The region is known for its rich, peat like soil that has proven to be perfect for the asparagus plant. The Delta crop will continue through mid May, weather permitting. Produce Express is currently stocking the 28# case and, considering the price of many produce staples at this time of year, asparagus is an excellent value. We may see a price increase as the Mexican crop finishes this week and once again when the weather warms.