Cherries are in season. We have recipes

Royal K cherries, the first of the season, disappear fast at the Murray Family Farms stand at the Santa Monica farmers market.
(Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)
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What’s in season: This past week, Murray Family Farms in Arvin, just south of Bakersfield, started carrying the first cherries of the season. Royal K is an early variety known for its deep red color and sweet flavor, and spotting them is a telltale sign that summer is just around the corner. The season will begin later in more northern areas of the state, and, according to Santa Monica farmers market supervisor Laura Avery, growers anticipate a good crop “so long as it doesn’t rain on the ripe cherries like it did last year.” Fingers crossed. Cherry season typically runs through mid-summer, with varieties ranging from dark, richly flavored Brooks to sweet Rainier cherries, as well as early Burlat, Tulare and Flavor Giant.

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What to cook: At their peak, cherries are best simply eaten out of hand, but they can be used in a variety of other ways, both raw and cooked. Bake the cherries in quick breads or cakes, or use to flavor a traditional clafoutis, a French pudding-like dessert. You can also roast cherries to enhance their flavor, tossing the fruit with a little oil and cooking for just a few minutes until the fruit is softened and fragrant.


What’s on the horizon: It’s early in the season, but a few varieties of eggplant are just beginning to show up.


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