It's officially summer here at Kimball Fruit Farm! Usually, the Fourth of July is the big turning point out in the fields and orchards: the late spring products (strawberries, green garlic, scapes) are on the way out and the early summer products are just starting to ripen (raspberries, blueberries, sweet cherries, summer squash and zucchini, peaches, plums). Early July is the magical time where you will see these products intermingling on our shelves beaconing us over to join them in celebrating the change of seasons!
A lot of you have been asking us when to expect three products: peaches, corn, and tomatoes. Unfortunately, precise specificity is up to Mother Nature and so far, she has declined to comment on the matter (a very tough lady to get a hold of) but we can definitely give you a ballpark estimate based on previous years and our own growing experience.
For years we have been able to say "Peaches are ready July 15th" with the same certainty as we have said "Strawberries run Father's Day to Fourth of July". That all changed five years ago when we inter-planted the variety "Rich May" into our orchards. These are a compact, clingstone, yellow peach and for the past two seasons they have ripened nearly a week earlier than the rest. Anyone in the Hollis, NH area has probably noticed them on the trees along Pepperell Road - they are almost fully sized, already have a stunning color, and should be ready to pick by July 10 at the LATEST! After that the PF1s and PF5s (the dethroned earliest peach varieties here at Kimball Fruit Farm) will ripen in mid-July as they always have.
As of the time I'm writing this (June 26) the early corn has tasseled (the tassel is the crazy hairdo each stalk grows on top - it's actually the male reproductive part of the plant) and started to form small ears and silk (the silk is the female reproductive part - each individual strand of silk has to be pollinated to form each individual kernel of corn). It usually takes two to three weeks to have pickable ears from this point so you should expect to see our early variety, "Temptress", in early July. For those of you waiting for the "Montauk" variety or for our white corn, you'll have to remain patient until closer to August!
Our field tomatoes will start just as they normally do at the end of July/beginning of August. The cherries are always the first to ripen, followed closely by the regulars and finally the heirlooms. Expect to see our giant displays of different colors and shapes in early-mid August. To whet your appetite until then we of course are picking our hydroponic cherry tomatoes now and are hoping to have regulars out of the high tunnels around the first or second week of July!
As for our other early summer products: our zucchini/summer squash and broccoli are slowly trickling in this week, it’s about peak season for sweet cherries now (please remember to call in and set aside sour cherries - we don’t have a lot and it will be a quick season!), and our early raspberry variety, “Prelude”, is producing so many we will open the patch for PYO this week! There’s also only a short time left for pea season before it will be too warm for them to produce but the early beans are in bloom and should be ready in time to replace them!
Thank you to everyone who came out to support us and all the other floats in the Pepperell Fourth of July parade this last weekend - it was a scorcher!
We can’t wait to say hi to you in person at the stand or one of our markets soon!
-David and Amanda