Excellent Fruit Coming your way!
by Rich Kolm, TasteWise Kids Program Manager, Days of Taste
This spring was a remarkable season. We had a near-perfect goldilocks-zone temperatures; from late March though May it slowly got warmer without any big spikes or dips. Rain was regular but not overwhelming (though there’s been some heavy rain recently of course). Especially considering how rough last year was for many farmers, most everyone in the grower community was very happy with how things went.
What did this mean for the local foods we eat? Well of course it made our spring vegetables plentiful and tasty. But it’s also the reason that our local peaches and cherries and other tree fruits are already in the middle of an excellent year.
Why is that? A lot of it has to do with how trees deal with low temperatures. Over the winter the trees go dormant, to protect themselves from the harsh temperatures, but as things start to warm up in the spring trees prepare for their season of growth, flowering and fruiting. In the budding stage as they prepare to flower, a very cold night can damage the trees but most of our area tree fruits can withstand a night below freezing. However once they’ve gone into flower many of the fruits we know and love can be damaged by even a few degrees of frost. A tree that’s been damaged by frost in the budding or flowering stage will produce less fruit if any at all, and what it produces will be inferior.
So we have reason to celebrate! Local Cherries and Peaches are already in season and are excellent and plentiful this year. Try to grab some at your local farmer’s market or grocery store that stocks local produce.