Yahooooey! It's market time again! Yes, the markets begin this weekend and we are really excited about it. We made it thru a very difficult weather season (so far)….and hope the worst is behind us. My summer newsletter stated we had not been affected (yet) by the severe hail storms that were pounding the front range…..bad omen, we eventually got ours too!! So what that means is you will see some dings and dents and various cosmetic flaws on some of our fruit, hopefully no more than usual, we sort out the worst of it, but there are always some. It just comes down to which variety (some are more resistant than others) and which of our orchards it came from (some got it more than others). The good news is - we have fruit…..and a lot of it. Usually we start the markets somewhat slowly with just a couple of varieties. Not so much this year….got a great lineup for the opening weekend, partially due to the fact we are experiencing an early ripening by as much as two weeks early…it is a good thing!!
This week all markets will have:
Dandee Red Apples, a bright red variety that many call Early McIntosh, it is a McIntosh type or sort (genetic variant), just a little sweeter and firmer….in my opinion, better than McIntosh.
Ginger Gold, which are awesome! Ginger Gold are large sweet-tart yellow-green apples, great for sauce, cooking or fresh eating….just an excellent early season variety.
Pristine, I do love my Pristines, probably my favorite early season variety, just because I like the unusual and Pristines deliver that….they are yellow, generally pretty small (great lunch box size) and are sweet/tart and have a unique lemon/citrus flavor which is very unusual for an apple.
Zestar, a crisp and juicy tri color apple with a good sugar/acid balance, more on the tart side than sweet, a good storage apple for an early season apple, comes out of the same breeding program as Honeycrisp and looks somewhat similar.
Williams Pride, one of the best early season apples, highly rated for its sweet, rich, spicy flavor. Apples are dark red to almost purple with a rich aromatic flavor. Good for fresh eating, preserving and drying.
Early Italian Plums, a dark purple plum, many would call “prune” plums, good for fresh eating, baking and preserves, very similar to Italian Plums which we will have later in the season, just a little smaller and few weeks earlier….hence how they got the name. Whoever named them wasn’t overly creative! At least not compared to some of the apple names you see.
Some markets, but not all may have Summercrisp Pears, a small but sweet pear along the lines of Seckel or Sugar Pears, just have a limited number of those so not all markets will get them. The same goes for some additional apples, some markets may have a single box of an odd ball variety, or they may be at the U-Pick, just depends on how we load out the trucks and what I am thinking or not thinking at the time!
As for the U-pick….opened last weekend, thank you to those who came out to see it….this weekend the picking plan is for Ginger Gold, Williams Pride, Kindercrisp and Sansa…..soon to come will be Akane, Redfree and a host of others. Just a reminder, the U-Pick orchard is located in Ault, CO….about 25 miles east of Fort Collins. Directions are on the website. It is open Saturdays & Sundays 9-4.
As for the markets, I will not be attending. I will be at the U-pick operation all weekend but you will be in good hands with some new faces and some you are familiar with….Kenny (3rd yr) will once again run the Boulder Market, Josh (3rd yr) will again be at Downtown Fort Collins, Kit/Kevin (10 yr+) will be the anchors at Greeley, Maggie (3rd yr) will take over Sunday Fort Collins, Haley (6th yr) will assist with the U-Pick …..some new faces too….Austin will be at Longmont, Keegan at downtown Loveland, and Bob & Laura may be at any or all of the markets depending on the weekend. Looking forward to seeing you!