What’s in season: The Santa Rosa plum, lightly fragrant and boasting a sweet-tart flavor, is often considered the gold standard when it comes to plums. Originally introduced to the public in 1906 by Luther Burbank, it’s just one of the more than 100 types of plums we can credit to the legendary plant breeder. The plums should be available through August at various stands, as the fruit ripens at farms up the state. But there are a number of great plums out there, from the unassuming but sweet and flavorful Greengage, to dark, oblong Italian prune plums, which make perfect baking fruit. When selecting plums, don’t be put off by the white “bloom” on many fruits — the white dust collected on the outside of the skin — this shows that the plums have not been overhandled.
What to cook: At their peak, plums are probably best enjoyed as a quick (but savored) snack, and you’d easily be forgiven if you sampled a few — or the whole stash — on your way home from the market. For the fruits that make it home, slice them up and add to fresh salads or layer in parfaits. Bake plums into tender crisps, flaky galettes or bars, to pack in lunches. Or turn them into a batch of tangy-sweet jam or preserves to top such items as toast and a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
What’s on the horizon: Grape season is just beginning, with Thomcords, Black Emeralds and a few Diamond Muscats beginning to show up at stands.