Have you ever wondered what fruits are in season? How to keep flowers alive? How to store your bread so it lasts? We spoke to some of the vendors at our Capitol Mall Farmers Market some of their most asked questions.
J&J RAMOS FARMS
Q: What fruit is in season right now?
A: We had a long winter, so the growing season is slower than normal. Citrus fruit like oranges and lemons are in season for two, maybe three more weeks. And tomatoes are in season now.
Q: And then what?
A: Then it’s stone fruit season. Cherries and apricots first, then soft fruit like peaches and nectarines from July-October.
Q: How can I tell if I’m picking a good tomato?
A: That’s a silly question… firm is good, but not hard. Red.
Q: That makes sense… do you have a favorite fruit season?
A: Nectarine season is the best, especially pluots. Persimmons are also really good, but you have to get the eating ones, not the cooking ones.
Q: Anything else to share?
A: Do you want an orange?
Q: These flowers are so beautiful! How long do fresh flowers last?
A: Four days, usually.
Q: Is there anything I can do to make them last longer?
A: Change the water every couple days and keep them out of the sun, but the fresher the flowers the less time it takes to wilt. The sturdy ones will last longer than the fragile ones.
Q: How can I tell if they’re sturdy?
A: The green stalks are tough – see how this one has little spines that look like fur? That’s a sturdy flower. And you can dry these too.
Q: Really? How??
A: Simple: just put them in a vase without water. They should last a couple months.
Q: Does it help if I trim the flowers when I change the water? Will that help them last longer?
A: No, not really. But people like to think so.
Q: I know you’re not a farmer, but you do get asked a lot of questions! I feel like my bread gets stale really fast, how do I prevent that?
A: It sounds silly but cut one slice at a time. Every time you cut a slice, store the rest of the bread in the paper bag we give you on the counter, with the cut side down on the counter so the butt of the bread sticks straight up. DON’T put it in the refrigerator.
Q: My mom is a refrigerator mom, but you’re telling me to keep it out of the fridge?
A: YES! The refrigerator will dry it out.
Q: I’m only one person, can I freeze what I don’t use?
A: Of course you can, live your life.
Q: How does it freeze best?
A: Seal it in a ziplock bag. A day before you want it, take it out of the freezer and put the cut side down on the counter to defrost, or put it in the oven at a low temp – about 200 degrees for 10 minutes – to make it feel like fresh bread.