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I love the exuberance of summer. Unlike spring, which sneaks in with coy glimpses of warmer weather and then retreats back to wintery temperatures and rain, summer bursts on the scene bathed in long sunlit days and an explosion of colorful flowers and fruits. For me, stone fruits like apricots, nectarines, peaches and pears are the essence of summer. And when it’s too nice to stay in the kitchen, it’s time to grill.

Grilling enhances the fruits’ natural favors. The heat caramelizes the sugar and the light char adds a smoky complexity. A trick for preventing cut fruit from sticking is to start by wiping the cold grill with a paper towel blotted with vegetable oil. Avoid olive oil which becomes rancid in high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side for a treat that complements many dishes from appetizers to desserts. Try wrapping your fruit in prosciutto before grilling; it’s the perfect complement to chilled Champagne or rosé.

Or place grilled fruit on a bed of arugula with crumbled goat cheese and a Balsamic vinaigrette for a delicious salad. Fruit and meat may not sound like the likeliest pair, but the rich sweetness of grilled fruit is wonderful with poultry or pork. Beautiful stone fruits are available now at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market from several farms including Bera, Neufeld and Arceo Ranch.

Join us on Friday, July 5, at 10:30 a.m., when Rob Sereni from award winning LocalQ 707 will share his barbecue expertise and mouthwatering samples. The kids will enjoy bilingual story time at 9:30 as well as creative “Flower Power” projects in the Market Classroom.

The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is held in Crane Park every Friday from 7:30 until noon through Oct. 25. For the most up-to-date information, please visit us at sthelenafarmersmkt.org, sign up for the Market’s weekly online Newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Stacey Bressler is a local vintner, a member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors and a past Citizen of the Year.

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