My friends the W sisters invited me to go apricot picking Sunday. We left really early and headed to Morgan Hill and Andy Marinai’s Orchard. It was $15 for all you can eat stone fruit sampling (like a farmer’s market but with a much wider variety of fruit, jams, chocolate covered fruit…), a farm tour (Did you know it’s the pits that flavor cherry cola?) and picking (also all you can eat stone fruit sampling). According to KQED Food, “Mariani’s 250-plus varieties of stone fruit — cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and hybrids — represent the most extensive collection of heirloom fruit on the West Coast.” Andy is a wizard of horticultural.
At the tasting, I filled my belly. My favorite was the Raspberry Red Nectarine. I was very patient and didn’t elbow any fathers or step on any kids (it was Father’s Day). It’s a tasty zoo. I don’t make for the best agrotourist because the fun fruit facts from our docent bored me and it was really hot. I soon wandered into the trees. There were cherries to pick. I got a few plums. I was disappointed that the apricots were either not ripe or cracked. I bought some in the store.
My friends made a delicious not too sweet fruit tart with a biscuity crust. My coworkers raved about the delicious cherries. I went cherry picking outside of Los Angeles once and the trees were rather stumpy. It was like fishing with a net. I recommend picking at Andy’s Orchard as a fun family activity. If you’re like me and don’t have a family, take your foodie friends or a date. You can feed each other sweet things and show off your adorable straw hat.
- Don’t buy Styrofoam fruit at the grocery store and find a trusted farmer at the market because sometimes you’re being sold that same Styrofoam fruit illegally.
- Know what’s in peak season.
- Speckled nectarines are the sweetest.
- Don’t be afraid to smell the fruit to check for ripeness except plums and cherries.
- Don’t cook peaches.