I undoubtedly inherited a love for stone fruits. My mother is the ultimate peach fan; at the beginning of every summer, she keeps an eye out for the first peaches to hit the local grocery store shelves. She notes whether they are coming from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Colorado, or California. When she discovers peaches coming from a new provenance, she buys a couple to take home and sample. If they turn out to be particularly good - that is if they are juicy, smooth-textured, sweet, and robustly flavored, she makes it a point to go back and get a ton more.
I remember being inordinately excited, while attending college in Iowa, to discover that peaches grew there. A mere four-and-a-half hours south of my hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, in whose Northern climate stone fruit aren't much more than an agricultural pipe dream. No matter that the Iowan varieties were only about the size of golf balls.
With this background in mind, you'll hopefully understand how happy I was to work at the Farmstand last weekend, purveying not only excellently ripe peaches, but also nectarines, cherries, plums, apricots, and pluots. Pluots, a delectable cross between a plum and an apricot, were the real champions this past weekend. Practically everyone who tried them off of our sample platter was bowled over by their sweetness and deeply floral flavor. What's more, these ruby and emerald-colored fruits came to us from neighboring Solano county. For a stone-fruit lover, I live in paradise.