Nothing says summer is here like biting into a ripe O’Henry peach while standing under a market canopy talking to John or Andrea Tenerelli of Tenerelli Orchards. The Tenerelli farm, which John owns with his wife Tracie, is in Littlerock, in the high desert northeast of L.A. on land bought by their father in the ’50s.
The Tenerelli’s O’Henrys are to peaches what Santa Rosas are to plums and Christmas cookies are to some of us: highly seasonal, a treat of epic proportions. Painted garnet outside, turmeric inside, they’re sweet with a surprise acidic finish — not unlike the short story writer for whom they were not named. Buy flats of them if you can; they are not cheap, but well worth it. (Frugality should not be applied to fruit, unless you can pick it yourself.)
Bring them home to feed the children, squash into Bellinis and eventually translate whatever you haven’t eaten standing over the sink into salads, pancakes, muffins and pies. (Too many? Halve and pit and freeze them; they’ll be fine.) You will be happy, and so will the Tenerellis.
One morning a few weeks ago, folks came to the Pasadena market at Victory Park more than an hour early to scope for peaches and mulberries, and were frustrated to find the latter gone or taken. Andrea managed a cheery smile and dropped something so obvious it was as mind-blowing as those mulberries (imagine Bordeaux in the form of berries so ripe they seem macerated): “Email me.” Which is a tip fruit fanatics can take to heart: If you know what you need, put in the order ahead of time.
WHAT: Tenerelli currently has Zee Lady and Elegant Lady yellow peaches, Sugar Giant white peaches, Laroda plums, Fantasia yellow nectarines, Persian mulberries.
WHERE: Saturday’s Pasadena farmers market; Wednesday’s Santa Monica farmers market; Sunday at Beverly Hills and Studio City; and a few more.
WHEN: Tenerelli peaches are running about two weeks late this year. The mid-August ripening order for yellow peaches: Elegant Lady, Zee Lady, Summer Lady and the O’Henrys in question, which should be picked by Labor Day. Tenerelli comes to markets July through late October, depending on how late its Autumn Flame and Last Chance Autumn Lady peaches run.
TIP: Email the Tenerellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for updates, or to place a single or recurrent order.