It’s Summertime – the weather is nice and that means Idaho grown berries, cherries and U-picks!
Strawberries are the first berry to come into season.When you buy strawberries make sure they are plump and red. Since strawberries don’t ripen after they’ve been picked, avoid dull-colored berries and ones with yellow or green patches on their skin. Rhubarb is also in season, which only seems appropriate for Idaho strawberry rhubarb crisp. Get creative and use Natures Indulgence Granola for a crunchy sweet topping.
The Idaho Blueberry will begin harvest in late June and run until the middle of July. The season is short for blueberries in Idaho-so don’t miss out when you shop! The Idaho Blueberry can be found in Albertson’s and Grasmick distributing for retail, schools and restaurants.
Lucky for us there are two seasons for raspberries in Idaho. Some varieties begin ripening around the end of June, just as strawberries are finishing up. Other varieties come on in August and are available until the first frost in the fall. Blackberries are the last berry to harvest around the middle of August. Blackberries are not grown commercially in Idaho, but many small farmers and backyard gardeners grow and sell them directly to consumers. Pick your own berries at The Berry Ranch in Nampa, or buy fresh berries on site at Vogel Farms in Kuna. Blue Barn Produce takes berry orders for flats of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries during the season. Enjoy berries year around by freezing them or making them into jams.
Cherry Season is short and sweet! Look for fresh Idaho grown cherries at the Farmer’s Markets and in retail stores. Always look for shiny, plump cherries with fresh green stems and dark coloring for their variety. Cherries can be used in a sweet dessert like Cherry Pie or as a savory topping to Idaho trout. Idaho Cherries from SYMMS Fruit Ranch can be found in retail stores or on site at their fruit stand, open Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm and Saturday 9am-1pm. Purvis Orchard grows fresh cherries and sells them Wednesday’s at the Caldwell Farmers Market from 3-7pm and Saturday’s from 9am-1pm at the Nampa Farmer’s Market. Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard in Emmett, Northview Orchard in Buhl, Williams Fruit Ranch in Emmett and Kelly’s Canyon Orchard in Filer offer u-pick. Take your family, and let your kids experience picking fruit right from the tree. Pack a picnic and make a day trip out of it!
How to Store: Keep cherries unwashed and stems attached, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.