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Sep 8, 2006 03:33 AM

Great local fruit farms?

I'm wondering if there are any under-the-radar places in the area (say, out to 495) that sell their own, or locally-grown fruit of exceptional quality. Whenever I hear people wax poetic about the Santa Monica farmer's market and the 5 different kinds of white peaches, yadda yadda, I get jealous, then I wonder if I'm just missing some sort of bounty here in my own backyard.

I'm really looking for unusual stuff -- the local apricots I was going on about early this summer were an example -- say, greengage plums, or particularly excellent berries, anything that's superior to the local norm (much of which is quite good right now, I'm just looking for GREAT).

For fall fruits I'd nominate a place like Noquochoke Orchards, who have an amazing variety of apples, some good pears, quinces, and a few other old-fashioned things (like macomber turnips). They actually had some damson plums recently, so that was a nice find. Cook's Orchards used to bring more fruits to market, now they seem to concentrate on baked goods. Is Ward's Berry Farm worth the special trip? And are there farms that don't bother to go to the farmer's markets, that just grow small quantities? That's really what I mean by under-the-radar. TIA, and I hope there are some houndish finds out there!

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  1. Totally off topic,because it's a real store, but i had to share with you.I got some local peaches at Idylwilde Farm on Monday that redefined the genre. The kind where the sweet juice runs down your chin. The kind where I had to have a towel under my chin to eat them in the car. I bought only three (huge) not knowing how amazing they were gonnah be, and I didn't check where "local" was, for the same reason...They made me remember the freestone peaches from when I was a kid...I'm going back this weekend; hope there's more...I may have to resort to canning...

    1. Nagog Orchards has peaches now which are just fabulous. I've kept quiet about this because I really don't want my secret supply wiped out, but it's too good to keep to myself. They're in Acton, a bit hard to find. They have peaches, both white and yellow, nectarines and the first pears are just coming in.

      They keep a bushel of canning fruit which have some cosmetic flaws but I've bought around 30 lbs of these so far with almost no waste. They make great pies, ice cream, crisps and preserves. And they cost 30c a pound. If some other thrifty person gets there ahead of you, you may be out of luck.