What a fun day this was!
“Andy’s Orchard award-winning, tree-ripened fruit is artisan fruit–grown, harvested, handled and shipped with special care– known for its flavor and delicacy; it has been featured in Gourmet and Sunset magazines”. Andy has one of the largest collections of stone fruit varieties on the west coast and is a noted fruit expert for the California Rare Fruit Growers organization. July-August are the peak harvest months for peaches, plums and nectarines – they were just perfect. I was invited as a guest to hang out at Andy’s with a fun group known as Bakers Dozen, they were having a special orchard tour and tasting this day. We must have sampled over 60 varieties, some common and some heirlooms that are very rare and not available anywhere other than Andy’s (ya, I know – don’t hate me). Each sample was sweeter and more complex than the next. With exhausted palettes, we staggered out to the orchards on an extended tour, our heads spinning in a heavenly sugar bliss. As we were guided through the orchard, we were free to hunt and gather our favorites from the tasting. It seemed like every other row was a different variety. Being tall, I definitely had the edge for getting to the untouched, perfectly ripe fruit on the upper branches!
What a jewel of a place, put this on your short list of places to stop by. Once you’ve tasted Andy’s fruit, no other will compare.
I knew before I got to the orchard that I wanted to make a tart, but didn’t realize there would be so many choices! The winner? Summer Fire Nectarines. Wow, these were perfectly sweet, slightly tart and firm but soft – so beautiful with their bright red center and brilliant orange flesh. I wouldn’t dare cook these, so I decided to make a Fresh Nectarine tart with hints of Meyer lemon and almonds. ~K.