Donut Peach Season

Mmmmm….donuts. Words so elegantly described by the famous philosopher Homer J. Simpson. Donuts are worthy of m to the infinity. Problem is a donut based diet isn’t going to do you any favors. But alas, we can have our donuts and be healthy at the same time. Thanks to the donut peach. Besides having the name and shape in common, these peaches are sweetly divine. They may not be as good as donuts, but for health reasons, they will suffice. When and how does one aquire these healthier donuts? Well that’s what this post is all about.

A beautiful display of "Flying Saucer" donut peaches at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A beautiful display of “Flying Saucer” donut peaches at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Where are Donut (Flat) Peaches Grown?
The majority of the donut peaches grown for commercial production in the U.S. is California. Almost all the donut peaches I have seen in stores comes from the Golden State. You can also find them from other states, but it will be more of a hunt. While the southern states of Georgia and South Carolina are big peaches growers, I don’t know of a lot of orchards growing them. The only grower I have come across is Watsonia Farms. I have never had one of their donut peaches, I have seen their products (summer squashes, Muscadine grapes) on store shelves at Whole Foods Market.

One grower that is nearby me that I want to check out is Quarry Hills Orchard in Berlin Heights, Ohio (between Toledo and Cleveland). They harvest peaches from July to September. They are one of my favorite places to visit on this plant. Their apple cider is die for and they have a selection of newer and classic varieties of apples.

If you are a peach grower state, check your local farmer’s market to see if anyone there grows donut peaches.

A side note
The majority of donut peaches will you find in stores are going to be the white flesh varieties, known for their incredibly sweetness and lower acid.

Where are Donut (Flat) Peaches In Season?
To determine the season, I look at the availability a couple of my favorite stone fruit growers. Kingsburg Orchards calls them Flying Saucer peaches. These are white fleshed donut peaches. Their earliest ones (May Flying and Galaxy) are available at the month of May. Then there is a gap all the way until August when their next couple varieties (Pink and Late) are ripe. They also have a yellow flesh variety called Golden Moon, which comes out in July.

Another of my favorite growers is Family Tree Farms. Their donut peaches, called Saturn peaches are available from the end of May through the end of June and then again around the end of July to late August. Final crops are between early September and mid October – although I think by then you don’t seen most stores carrying them as they have moved onto to larger displays of apples and pears.

A ripe Peach Pie donut peach sitting on my dinning room table, ready to be consumed!

A ripe Peach Pie donut peach sitting on my dinning room table, ready to be consumed!

Varieties to Look Out For
I am sad to say that most of the donut peaches in stores are really more style than substance. They lack any real flavor – especially the white varieties. There are a couple types that you need to check out and buy up if you are lucky enough to find them.

Four peaches to a case that resembles an actual donut container. Even has an easy to hold handle on top. An adorable idea from Family Tree Farms. These particular ones I found at Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Four peaches to a case that resembles an actual donut container. Even has an easy to hold handle on top. An adorable idea from Family Tree Farms. These particular ones I found at Trader Joe’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Peach Pie Donut Peaches
This variety comes your way from Family Tree Farms. They take a while to ripen, but are full of flavor if you eat them at the right moment. They do have notes of pie spices in their flavor profile. Definately worth checking out. They even come in a cute, carrying case, that makes them look like they are actually donuts! This year I have found them at Trader Joe’s and Kroger.

The ultimate in flat stone fruit - the Nectafire donut nectarine. Beautiful outside, bursting with flavor inside.

The ultimate in flat stone fruit – the Nectafire donut nectarine. Beautiful outside, bursting with flavor inside.

Nectafire Donut Nectarine
This is actually a nectarine. It’s a donut nectarine. In fact it’s the best tasting nectarine variety I have ever had. By far. No contest. Juicy and just bursting with flavor. These have both style and substance. They have a beautiful red color. I just love them. I used to buy them at Hiller’s Market each summer, however that store was bought out by Kroger and I can no longer find them in my area. Rest asure, I will find them again. Nectafire is harvested in mid July by Rembrandt Fruit.

Are you a fan of the donut? I would love to hear from your experiences with donut peaches. Have you tried any of the special varieties I mentioned? Leave your comments below.

“Ramped-Up” Corn

in Side Dishes

Ramped Up Corn 1

On the first day of spring this year I released my first in a series of seasonal e-book “This Spring”. It’s a complete collection of all the spring-related content from my site in an easy to read e-book format. Each year I plan on expanding the book with new content. I look for areas in which I think I am missing something and plan ahead so that next year I will have an even better book. In the first release of “This Spring” I talked about one of my favorite spring time delicacies – the Ramp. The flavor of the ramp has hints of garlic and onion. Read all about it in my anatomy of a ramp post. For this recipe I decided to pair ramps with another vegetable that makes its re-appearance around the same time – fresh corn on the cob.

One of the issues with corn on the cob in the spring is that you cannot count on it to be consistently sweet. Here in Michigan we get our corn from Florida and Georgia. That can be a ways to travel for a vegetable that converts it’s sugar to starch. Sometimes you luck out and find a sweet ear and some times you don’t. So I like to take out some “insurance” by stripping the kernels from the cob and sauteing the corn in butter. The advantage this gives you over steaming is that the corn will caramelize in the pan, allowing any sugar in the corn to be brought out.

Overhead view of sauteing ramps. You just want to do this until they begin to take on a little color, before adding in your corn.

Overhead view of sauteing ramps. You just want to do this until they begin to take on a little color, before adding in your corn.

The flavor of the ramps goes beautifully when paired with the sweet corn. I use the bulbs of the ramps at the start. Chop them and sautee them just like you would garlic. Corn goes in. Leaves of the ramps are chopped in and throw in right at the end of cooking. The heat will wilt the leaves like spinach.

Ramped Up Corn 2

"Ramped-Up" Corn
 
The perfect way to make unpredictable spring time corn into a delicious side dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of ramps (usually 6 to 8 ramps depending on size),
  • 5 ears of corn, with the kernels stripped from the cob
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat up a fry pan over medium heat. Add butter
  2. Chop the bulbs off the ramps. Set the leaves aside.
  3. Add ramp bulbs cooking until they take on some color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the corn kernels. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook until the kernels are soft and start to shrink.
  6. While waiting chop up the leaves of the ramps.
  7. Remove from the heat and add in the leaves.
  8. Stir to combine.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Best Produce to Buy at Trader Joe’s

in Where I Buy Food

Best Produce to Buy at Trader Joe's

Trader Joes Sign Arb

Trader Joe’s has established for itself quite the following. People are attracted to their unique products and smaller scale stores. That have tons of unique and interesting items from their cookie butter to coconut oil in a spray can. One thing that I personally don’t think is all that and a bag of sriracha chips is the produce department. It is not a big draw, at least not for me. I prefer to shop places that have sales and more local produce. That doesn’t mean you should just avoid produce at TJ’s. While I won’t typically go to Trader Joe’s for produce specifically, there are things I might be there if I am already in the store. Below you will find my recommendations on items that are worth purchasing.

Trader Joe Bagged Apples

1. Bags of apples
They always have bagged apples for a decent price. You are better off buying them by the bag instead of individual apples. The single price of an apple is more pricey. Remember Trader’s doesn’t do things by the pound. You are paying a per apple price.

Trader Joe Bananas

2. Large sized Bananas
My strategy when choosing bananas at Trader Joe’s in the opposite of what I do everywhere else. Typically for my kids sake I choose bunches with smaller sized fingers (that is actually what they are called!). Since again no by the pound pricing, I pick the bunches with the largest bananas on them since I will be paying the same price no matter the size of the actual banana.

Trader Joe Salads

3. Bagged salads
They have a good selection of packaged salads. Their organic selections are actually Earthbound Farms. I have watched employees take the salads out of boxes that said Earthbound on them. It’s not uncommon for Earthbound to package their salads with store brand labels. The same is true at Whole Foods Market.

Trader Joe Avocados

4. Bagged avocados
My son loves avocadoes, which I am so happy about. They are so good for you and he will just eat them with a spoon. I usually will pick up a bag of avocodos when I am in the store. The price is pretty good – $2.99 for a bag of 4. Lot of places you have to pay at least $1 for one avocado and that sizes can vary quite a bit.

Trader Joe Potatoes

5. Bagged multi-colored or small potatoes
They are good at having bags of multi-colored or small potatoes in stock. I see them every time I got to the store. These are really good for quickly boiling or sauteing.

Thomcord Grapes

Thomcord Grapes – a cross between Thompson Seedless grapes and Concord grapes

6. Special Seasonal Items
There are some cases where they do have special seasonal produce items, that I will buy there. They were the first store I got Thomcord grapes from. These are seedless grapes that are a cross between a green Thompson seedless grape and a concord grape. They have that Concord flavor that you know in love from your Welch’s grape juice and jelly jar. No seeds to worry about like you do with regular Concords.

During citrus season I pick up their bags of Sky Valley Heirloom Navels. These are navel oranges grown the traditional way that put California on the map for citrus. They are super sweet and full of flavor you will never find in a standard Navel orange. I do buy their Cara Caras and Satsuma mandarins sometimes, but they can be hit or miss in terms of flavor.

Angelcots

Angelcots white apricots

A super sweet variety of apricots, called an Angelcot. I have made some amazing jam with these apricots.

Honey Fire Nectarines

Honey Fire Nectarines

Trader Joe’s sells nectarines and peaches in little cardboard crates. The nice thing about these crates for a foodie like me is that they list the variety that is inside. I once found some Honey Fire nectarines. Those were all kinds of amazing. Sweet with a rich nectarine taste. I recommend checking the boxes for this name whenever nectarines are in season. I saw this variety in June before.

Another piece of stone fruit to watch out for are the Rose apriums from Family Tree Farms. They come around in August. An aprium is a cross between an apricot and a plum, with a higher percentage of apricot. These are some of the sweetest fruit I have ever had. And so juicy. Can’t wear a nice shirt while eating these guys.

A Final Thought
One last thing to add is that I never buy berries at Trader Joe’s. Each week some other grocery store will have some type of berry on sale that will make it cheaper than Trader Joe’s. So I completely avoid them.

June 2016 Produce Printable

in Printables

JuneFPPreivew

It’s the time again to share with you what great fruits and vegetables to look out for in the month of June. We do that here at Eat Like No One Else with a produce printable. If you don’t know what that is, check the description below. To give you a little preview, June is an exciting month as temperatures heat up, and produce departments become a much more lively place with plenty of great options (at the bottom of this page you will find links to some of the items featured in this month’s printable)

What is a Produce Printable
Hello, my name is Donna, Eric’s wife! I have been helping out with Eat Like No One Else behind the scenes since day one. Each month we collaborate on a project for passionate planners! For those who don’t know, there is a big wide world of people who LOVE paper planners and decorating them for beauty and function. Be careful, once you taste and see, you might become addicted like I did! I host a large and rapidly growing group on Facebook called Happy Planner Free Printables to Share. We are a community of creators who enjoy making stickers and decorations for our planners that can be printed out and affixed inside.

I create a special kit for each month of the year. The kit includes a list of the best produce to buy during that month at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. It is sized specifically for the Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas but it can be used for a wide variety of paper planners on the market. This document can be printed and cut out for you to use in your planner for free!

Instructions on How to Get the Printable
To get the free download link all you need to do is sign up for the Eat Like No One Else email subscription below. You will be sent a confirmation e-mail. Confirm your subscription and then click continue to our website for the page where you can download the printables. I hope you all enjoy this new project, I know I had fun creating it. Happy Planning!

Type in your e-mail to sign up for the email subscription to receive free printables for June 2016 –

Here is more information about some of the features in this month’s printable –

Black Raspberry Pint
Black Raspberry Season
What to Do with Local Strawberries
Washington Cherries
Garlic Scapes

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WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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