Apricots are tasty and good for you

Farmers’ Market update
By: Billie Jean Salle Special to The News Messenger
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Know and Go: Sierra Fresh Certified Farmers’ Markets Tuesday: Downtown Roseville – Vernon Street from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday: Lincoln Hills Market – 965 Orchard Creek Lane from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday: Downtown Lincoln – F Street between 5th and 6th streets and Beermann’s Plaza from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday: Roseville Farmers’ Bazaar – Roseville Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Apricots are tasty and good for you Farmers' Market update By Billie Jean Salle Special to The News Messenger Happy Fathers Day to all you dads! At Salle Orchards, the featured Father's Day treat was Apricot Pie! And a treat it was. Nicole outdid herself. By morning, not a crumb was left. Apricots are a low-calorie bundle of nutrients high in Vitamin A, potassium and fiber. They promote detoxification and contribute to antibody production. Apricots help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep muscles, nerves and hormones working properly. When choosing apricots, look for plump fruit with as much golden orange color as possible and a strong fragrance. Because of the hailstorms this spring, expect to find some blemishes but that will not affect the flavor. Soft-ripe fruit will taste best but must be used immediately so I suggest selecting a few slightly soft fruit for eating now and firm-ripe for later. Now is the time for canning, freezing and jam making. Peaches and nectarines have an extended season but not so with the fragile apricot. Harvest time will last only a few short weeks, depending on the heat and variety. Apricots are extremely heat sensitive and tend to sunburn and pit burn (the flesh surrounding the pit will be slightly brown) but the flavor will still be amazing, if not better. I think we can finally put Old Man Winter to rest. It is definitely hot. I know it is hard on us but just remind yourself that "heat makes sweet." All of this will be so worth it. The fruit is plumping up with lots of sugar and the size of the fruit is amazing. But this is what we are all waiting for ... tomatoes! Gordon from Willow Creek, says his sweet Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are starting to color and will be ready by next week. He reminds us not to miss out on his assortment of gourmet fingerling potatoes. Fingerlings are small thin-skinned potatoes with a rich buttery texture. Supplies are becoming limited so check out his Zebra fingerlings and the purple potatoes while they are still available. Mary the "tomato lady" from Pierce's Heirloom Gardens expects to start harvesting her tomatoes by the 4th of July. Perfect! Just in time for our barbecues. Tomatoes are Mary’s passion; she plants more than 1,500 plants and can describe the flavor and characteristics of each variety. Mary is the go-to person for heirloom tomatoes. She has just begun to harvest her giant elephant garlic. Don't be intimidated by the size of these enormous heads, they are actually milder than the smaller counterparts we see in the grocery store. But it is all about flavor. These are full-flavored and not overpowering! Of course, the markets will still be full of berries of all varieties. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries. They are loving the heat and producing an abundance of the yummy fruits. This would be a good time to jam and freeze these little jewels for smoothies and cobblers later. This week, we will introduce Azolla Farm, a local farm just 12 miles north of Lincoln in Pleasant Grove. Azolla Farm is a mixed-vegetable operation focused on unique, heirloom varieties. While not yet organically certified, Azolla is dedicated to truly sustainable-farming practices. Its land totals seven acres, three of which are cultivated on a seasonal basis. The farm uses no chemicals, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, relying instead on the use of compost, compost teas, cover crops and crop rotation to maintain the highest level of health and nutrition for the soil and vegetables. Azolla Farm was founded by Scrivner Hoppe-Glosser and Jon Price, two long-time friends who met in the Bay Area and whose interest in high-quality produce took them from restaurant jobs at well-known venues such as Zuni Café and Chez Panisse, to a career in organic agriculture. This year is the farm’s first year of production. The two-man team sees the small scale of its operation as an opportunity to devote the care and attention to details necessary to produce the best vegetables possible. Staying true to the local food movement, Azolla Farm looks forward to serving local communities and establishing relationships with restaurants and individual customers who will be inspired by the fresh, high-quality ingredients grown there. Definition of Azolla: Azolla is a small fern that grows in the slough that runs through Azolla Farm. Azolla is one of the world’s smallest ferns and is known as one of the most productive. Azolla is one of the world’s fastest-growing plants and a rich source of nutrients, which makes it an interesting crop for agriculture. Azolla is a water fern that lives in a unique symbiosis with an algae that enables it to fix atmospheric nitrogen and, under ideal conditions, double its biomass in two days. For several hundred years, Azolla has been used as bio-fertilizer in Chinese rice paddies and lately it has been introduced as a bio-fertilizer and animal fodder in other parts of the world. Billie Jean Salle is Sierra Fresh Certified Farmers’ Market manager. Apricot Pie recipe 6 cups apricots, halved and quartered 1 tablespoon flour 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca 3/4 - 1 cup sugar (depending on the skin’s tartness) 1 tablespoon lemon juice nutmeg butter Double crust pastry for 9-inch pie Combine apricots, flour, tapioca, lemon juice and sugar. Toss gently to coat and then let rest 15 minutes. Fill prepared crust with apricots and lightly dust top with freshly grated nutmeg. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust, trim and flute edges and make several small slits in top to vent. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer or until golden brown. Let cool completely so the filling has a chance to firm up! Top with ice cream and life just doesn't get any better, Enjoy! - Courtesy of Billie Jean Salle