Market happenings: Join Colorado fruit enthusiasts at the Longmont Farmers Market on Saturday where the market will celebrate its annual Stone Fruit Day.
In season now: The local markets are stocked with apricots, arugula, asparagus, beef, beets, bison, carrots, cheese, cherries, chicken, cucumbers, dill, eggs, English peas, fennel, flowers, green garlic, greenhouse tomatoes, kohlrabi, honey, lamb, lettuce, peaches, pork, micro-greens, mizuna, mushrooms, radishes, scallions, spinach, spicy greens, spring onions, sugar snap peas, potatoes, strawberries and turnips.
Lots of this, please: The Western Slope’s renowned stone fruit — cherries, peaches and apricots — has arrived (with nectarines and plums not too far behind).
The farmer says: Say goodbye to the sea of green, with an occasional pop of pink, at the markets. As asparagus, garlic scapes and radishes fade out, customers can say hello to the vibrant beauty of Colorado stone fruits. This means that summer has officially arrived in Colorado and market-goers can always expect tree-ripened and picked-fresh fruit at the stands.
“We had a slow start because of the cold, wet weather,” Elana Sobal said, of Rancho Durazno‘s apricots. “We will have them for three or four weeks with gaps in between, depending on ripeness. Plums are on the horizon for August.”
Hotchkiss’ Ela Family Farms is bringing its first pick of cherries to market, with Bing cherries up first, followed by Skeena and Sweetheart. The team at Ela said to look for cherries with green stems and plump skin to find prime ripeness.
The peaches are hitting stands over at Morton’s Organic Orchard, of Palisade. Peach lovers can expect all other Western Slope fruit growers to follow suit, bringing in the stone fruit in the next couple of weeks. Expect to see clings leading the pack, followed by semi-cling and then followed by freestone peaches.
This week, it’s hats off to Paonia’s First Fruits Organic Farms for creativity and unique flavor with its tasty apriums — an apricot-plum hybrid. Farmers at First Fruits said that the fruit, which are a bit smaller than an apricot, are juicy this year. Apriums are sweet with notes of crisp acidity and complexity from the hybrid’s plum genetics
We’ll wait (not so) patiently for nectarines and plums to arrive.
How to prepare: There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of biting into a ripe piece of stone fruit. We always recommend this approach, but stone fruit also works well with freezing, canning, jamming and drying.
How to store it: Lay stone fruit out on paper towels in the lowest part of the refrigerator and make sure they’re away from apples, pears, or avocados. They will last for one to two weeks.
For freezing the stone fruit, lightly wash, halve and pit the fruit. Place them on a cooking sheet and put them in the freezer. After they are frozen, the fruit can be transferred to a plastic bag and enjoyed through the off-season.
Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list.
Colorado Fruit and Pepper Salad
3 cups of fruit (peaches, apricots, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, plums, currants, and/or cherries), cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup mild- to medium-heat peppers (bell, Anaheim, banana, shishito or poblano), deseeded and diced
1 cup cucumbers, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions or shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon (optional)
Directions: Mix ingredients gently in a large mixing bowl.
Toss with tarragon.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
— Chef Matt Collier, Seeds Library Cafe, seedsboulder.com
If you go
Boulder Farmers Market
13th Street and Canyon Boulevard
4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 2
Music from Marshy Roots
8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23
Music from Harmony & Brad
Lafayette Farmers Market
400 block of East Simpson Street
4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays through Sep. 26
Music from Kelly T, The Moonlit Wild, Americousticana
Longmont Farmers Market
Boulder County Fairgrounds
8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23
Music from Lucas Swafford
Union Station Farmers Market
Denver’s Union Station
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26
Music from Maya Bennett