Cooler temperatures in recent weeks have slowed production of many fresh fruit items, says the Fresh Produce Council. While steady supplies are available for most fresh fruits, the sizes are generally small. As warmer temperatures begin, larger sizes will become available.
Apricots top the list of good values available for shoppers this week. Prices will be reasonable on all sizes of this fruit. The fruit should be mature, plump, orange-yellow in color and relatively soft, but not damaged. Avoid fruit that is immature or greenish in color. Apricots may be stored at room temperature until they yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. Then they should be refrigerated or used immediately.
As the month of June progresses, more melons will become available. Supplies of the existing melons are increasing. This includes the honeydews from Mexico and cantaloupes from California and Texas. Later this month we will see the full array of mixed melons in produce departments. Watermelon supplies will continue to be good with prices reasonable.
The recent low prices on tomatoes may make a move upward, with Mexico no longer supplying tomatoes, Florida winding down on tomato supplies and the Baja region of California not yet into production. Baja is expected to get started around next Thursday.
Soft fruit continues to highlight the produce section as volume on peaches, plums and nectarines steadily increases. The Maycrest variety has been the predominate peach variety available. Increased supplies are becoming available on the Gemfree and Flavorcrest varieties as well. Supplies of the Red Beaut variety of plum are winding down and will be replaced on the retail shelves by increased availability of the Santa Rosa variety and the Black Beaut. The May Grand variety of nectarine continues to dominate supply in the nectarine category.
Perlette grapes are steadily increasing in supply from the Coachella Valley. Their eating quality improves with each day.
The smaller apples remain the best value; however, prices have moved upward on them recently. As summer progresses and the storage supplies begin to dwindle, there may be higher prices in the wings. New Zealand is providing us with their Granny Smith apples, a good fresh-picked apple alternative throughout the next two months.