• Eat Your {Local} Fruit and Veggies: The Lowdown on Summer Stone Fruit

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    Nothing says summer like a bite into a juicy, fresh peach or plum. New Jersey summer offers a bounty of fruit to choose from and living in Hoboken means you only have to walk a few blocks to find it!

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    Here are some tips to enjoy the taste of summer stone fruit in Hoboken.

    What’s in a Name?

    Stone fruit, the category of fruit including classic summer fruit like peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries, have “stones” or pits at their centers. These fruits are jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamins like A, C, and potassium and offer nutritious fiber in their skins.

    Fruit Tips from a Local Expert

    Sobsey’s Produce {92 Bloomfield Street} can be your go-to spot for summer fruit [although they are closed for vacation until August 30th – so try Basic Foods!], since they stock so many different varieties, get new shipments every day, and they’re passionate about what’s in season and tasty. During a recent visit, they had four types of peaches, four types of nectarines, four types of plums and three types of cherries. That’s why they call it a summer bounty! {Insider tip: They keep special and “limited-edition” fruit right by the register. Today, they had Jersey strawberries and fresh, green figs.}

    A visit to Sobsey’s presents an opportunity to savor the most delicious fruits of the season while supporting an ethical, health-conscious local business {a win-win}. The store itself is bursting with hidden gems, but try to avoid the pre-dinner “rush hour” if you want to take your time, ask questions and get a good look at their stock without feeling claustrophobic.

    Owner Michael Sobsey hand picks every item in the store, selecting the best-tasting produce he can find, so if he tells you that the “Honey Royale” nectarines are tasting really good today, you should trust him.

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    7 tips for choosing and storing your summer stone fruit:

    • Go ahead and buy that underripe {hard} peach, nectarine or plum. Let it ripen on the counter in a brown paper bag for a day or two—save the brown bag Sobsey’s gives you to take it home in—and when it’s a little soft and ripe, enjoy it right away or put it in the fridge to slow down the ripening for another day or two.
    • Ask questions! All of the employees are very knowledgeable about their produce, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Ask questions like, “What fruit is really tasty right now?” Or, “Is this fruit sweet or sour?” Or, “Can you help me pick out one that I can eat today?”
    • The season for any given variety can be very short, so if you taste something that you like, be sure to buy more that week because that variety or flavor might not be available later. {For example, you might find a mouth-watering donut peach that tastes just like a Sour Peach Gummy Ring. But next week’s crop might taste different.}
    • Follow your nose. Pick up a few different types of fruit and buy what smells the most delicious to you.
    • Stone fruit prices usually range from $2.49 to $5.99/pound. There are yummy options at multiple price points, so keep your eye on the prices and use the scales to weigh your selection so you don’t get surprised at the register.
    • Don’t assume something is organic unless it says so. If it’s not certified organic, the farm may use organic methods like “low-spray,” so ask the farmer or shopkeeper. Consult the annual “dirty dozen” list for tips about which produce you should buy organic {three stone fruits—peaches, nectarines, and cherries—made the list this year for having the highest pesticides.}
    • As with any fruit, avoid buying those with bruises and wash it before eating.

    Easy Ways to Enjoy Stone Fruit

    • Stone fruit is easy because you can rinse it off, wrap it in a paper towel and take it with you to eat as a snack during your commute {Bonus: It won’t stink up your bag and turn ugly like a banana does.} But if you’re looking for some other ways to enjoy it, here are some ideas:
    • Put some slices of fresh fruit in your cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt for a sweet, vitamin-rich addition that makes breakfast look like it does on the box.
    • Trying to limit your artificial sugar intake? Grab a piece of fruit after dinner instead of going straight for the ice cream.
    • Slice up some peaches and liven up your water routine with some spa water. Try a simple combination of your favorite stone fruit and fresh mint leaves, but make sure to drink it {and Instagram it} that day, since the fruit can get soggy and the herbs can oxidize and turn black.
    • Throw some fresh fruit into your smoothie. There’s no need to use frozen fruit in the summer when the fresh fruit is cheaper and tastier!

    Instagram-Worthy Local Options

    Check out any of the local farmer’s markets for an elaborate spread of colors and flavors. Swing by the Downtown Farmer’s Market {3 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in front of CVS} on your way home from work to grab some gorgeous, miniature plums in a rainbow of colors from Mellick’s Town Farm, sold for $2-4 per pint. If you have a sweet tooth, these small plums are syrupy sweet! If you like your sweetness with a heavy side of sour, opt instead for a plum-apricot hybrid {aka pluot, plumcot and dinosaur plum} available at most local markets.

    Feeling Adventurous?

    Try a fresh lychee! Sobsey says they’re always picked when they’re ripe, so there’s no guesswork about whether or not it’s good. Use your finger or a table knife to get the peel started, and peel off the outer red-brown bumpy shell to reveal the white, translucent fruit that surrounds a hard, brown pit. The taste is sweet and fragrant—like a cross between a grape and a canned pear.

    Take a drive to the countryside to pick your own summer fruit and veggies. Check out the Jersey Fresh link for descriptions to all the Jersey U-Pick farms, or go to Pick Your Own if you’re willing to cross state lines.

    Fruit Season: Planning Ahead

    Apples are on the horizon — TGFF {thank goodness for fall}. Gather some friends for a day trip to Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery in the fall which offers apple picking, wine tasting, and live music on the weekends. Put it in your calendar now, because apple-picking season was fairly short last year!

    Pro tip: Call ahead to ask about their yield if there’s a certain type of apple you’re after {like the cult favorite, Honeycrisp, which they think will be ready the weekend of Sept. 17.}

    Share your favorite Hoboken fruit finds in the comments below, or on HG Instagram. Wishing you all a sweet, fruit-filled, Hoboken summer!

     


    Written by:

    Lauren, a New Jersey native, is proud to call Hoboken home. An English educator by day, in her free time, you’ll find her stocking up at Hoboken’s farmer’s markets, taking a restorative yoga class, or writing at the Hoboken Library. She loves to eat the season, buying and cooking food that’s fresh and delicious, sharing tasty and unfamiliar options like sorrel, persimmons, and sunchokes with her friends and family.


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