Seasonal Foods: Nectarines


The list of my Favorite Things About Summer includes the truckloads of stone fruits that appear at the farmer’s market in the beginning of June. Cherries, nectarines, apricots, pluots, apriums, and peaches all grace the stands with both ordinary and exotic-sounding names. Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have a ton of farmers bringing in a multitude flavorful varieties and hybrids. Some of my favorites include the Flavor King plum, Montmorency sour cherry, Flavor Grenade pluot, and the Carine white nectarine.

Stone fruits are a lot like wine; they can have high acid or low acid, tart skin or thick and tannic skin, and a multitude of complex flavors and aromas. Case in point – the Carine white nectarine (shown above), which is grown by Blossom Bluff Orchards in the town of Parlier, just west of King’s Canyon National Park. The Carine is a high-acid white nectarine (most white nectarines don’t have a lot of acid, like a yellow nectarine does), and Blossom Bluff is the only grower of this rare variety in the world. They were given a cutting of this experimental variety by a friend who stopped growing it because it was deemed “not commercially viable” due to it’s delicate nature and lack of shelf stability. The folks at Blossom Bluff decided to keep it because they felt it was special, and they were willing to take a loss in order to preserve this special fruit.

The Carine is special for a few reasons – the skin is delicate and tender, the flesh has a creamy texture and is perfectly balanced with sweetness and acidity, and the flavor has hints of sweet stone fruit blossoms. It’s Colleen’s favorite stone fruit, which makes perfect sense due to her love of floral white wines with great acidity.

If you want to try this special fruit, act quickly because it’s in season now. Blossom Bluff Orchards can be found at many Bay Area Farmer’s Markets, including the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on Saturdays in San Francisco.