Stone fruit season is one of our favorite parts of the year! Just as the weather gets hot, juicy peaches and plums are ripe and ready to be eaten!
Stone fruits are also known as drupes. They have thin skin, soft flesh, a famously sweet flavor, and a ‘stone’ in the center of the fruit, which holds the seed. They are available from spring to early fall, with cherries usually kicking off the season. Most varieties of stone fruit originated in Asia, with peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums all originating in China.
One thing that makes stone fruit season exciting is the fantastic selection, with fun hybrids and new varieties popping up all the time. This can make you appreciate the season all the more, as some of our favorite varieties are only around for a short while, sometimes only a few days, such as Polar Light White Nectarines. These were a staff favorite this year, but won’t be available much longer.
Talk to your account manager to get your favorite stone fruit varieties before they’re gone!
Update: A late season frost that hit the valley while the stone fruits were still blooming may cause further shortages and higher prices among some varieties.
How to Merchandise Stone Fruit
While stone fruit practically sells itself, it’s always nice to help it along with some product information, grower profiles, and a colorful, well stocked display. Here are a few suggestions to keep the momentum going throughout the stone fruit season.
- Delicately stack items like peaches and nectarines. Stacking stone fruit 2 layers high is perfect. 3 layers high is okay, but anything higher may damage the fruit.
- Use baskets or fiber pints to merchandise smaller-sized fruit like Santa Rosa plums or apricots. These fruits can easily get lost in large retail displays; baskets help them stand out and get the attention they deserve.
- Helpful product information is key in selling produce. Davis Food Co-op has great stone fruit signage to help customers know how many pieces are in a pound, which keeps customers from being ‘price-shocked’ at the register.
- Don’t forget your color and texture breaks. Plums (red or black skin) and apricots are great for breaking up the peach and nectarine varieties and keeping them from blending all together.
You can also check out our handy stone fruit variety guide as you make your shelf talkers.
New & Exciting
Apple: We just got a huge new batch of apples from New Zealand! Bostock Braeburn, Diva, Dazzle, and Premier Star apples are in stock and look amazing!
*Apricot (left): Royal Blenheims are a customer favorite for a good reason; they offer the most distinct classic apricot flavor of any variety and are a staff passion. The Blenheim is a delicate heirloom that ripens from the inside out, and has become sidelined in recent years by sturdier new hybrids that can ship long distances. Connoisseurs know the Blenheim cannot be beat for cooking, freezing, or eating out of hand; we’re so excited for them to land this week.
Dried Mushroom: A great alternative to fresh mushrooms, especially when you’re interested in a long shelf life. These dried mushrooms come in a wide variety and taste great!
Grape: Green Seedless Grapes are starting next week, while the red Flame Seedless Grapes have just started – both are grown in California. Black Seedless grapes out of Mexico just arrived.
Melon: California honeydews are starting this week, with Galia and Hami melons expected to start June 5th.
Mixed squash from Comanche Creek: Delicious variety of small to medium sized squash, including zucchini, costata romanesco, cousa, yellow eight ball, and more that will look beautiful on your produce shelves.
Nectarine: Rose Diamonds have just arrived. With yellow flesh and a wonderfully complex flavor that balances sweet and acidic, these are sure to be popular.
*Peach (right): Springlady peaches are coming in. They are relatively hardy, with a beautiful blush, yellow flesh, and a light, sweet flavor. White peaches are in strong supply, with wonderful sweetness and low acidity.
Pluot: Several different varieties of Pluots are in, with dark or dappled skin, magenta colored flesh, and a sweet, juicy experience. They also offer a rich, floral aroma.
Watermelon: 45 Count Watermelon bins are available! They are super juicy and sweet – you won’t want to miss out on these!
White nectarine: The Polar Light is the winner of the early varieties of stone fruit! Its flavor is sweet and complex, with just a touch of acid. The next variety will be Polar Kist, which is a new variety for us, and is landing this week.
Artichoke: Lots of 18s and 24s available!
Avocado: The 84 Count and 40 Count Hass Avocados are delicious and at fantastic prices! The market continues to be volatile, so plan any promotions in advance with your account manager.
Bean: Green beans are at promotable price and look amazing! Rundle Family Farms, a VV exclusive grower, always provides high quality green beans. Fava beans are in great supply, and Dwelley specialty beans will land next week.
*Blueberry (left): Excellent volume of California-grown blueberries! Super sweet and picked at the prime of the season.
Broccoli: Both broccoli and baby broccoli supplies remain strong, with promotable prices.
Celery: Production is catching up and prices have started to fall.
Heirloom Tomato: Sharp pricing, with a variety of colors and sizes available.
*Lettuce (right): There is a strong volume, with a variety of greens available. Red Leaf is at a great price, and the Butter Lettuce is tender and delicious.
Lime: Prices continue to come down!
Persian cucumber: We have great volume from multiple growers.
Strawberry: Strawberries are looking and tasting truly great! Promotable pricing and strong supply make these an easy choice to push.
Bell pepper: All large # 1 bell peppers are limited
Boxed Greens: Heatwave has affected supply of baby greens.
Meyer lemon: Limited and Prices going up!
Pea: Snow peas and English peas are a little erratic
Pepper: Poblano and Serrano pepper are limited
Russet Potato: Supply out of Oregon and Washington is winding down and the California crop won’t be ready until late June.
Done for the Season
Specialty Potatoes from Wong Family Farm
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