The glorious summer fruit season is well underway in California, and here at the café we’re celebrating the abundance of sweet, juicy and colorful stone fruits arriving in our markets. Fresh local berries too.
Paired with a complementary container, it also makes a simple centerpiece to add a special touch to your table. My photos in this post pair summer fruit with mid-century modern and other ceramics my partner and I have collected.
Washington state is the premier growing region for the lovely-to-look-at Rainier cherries above, their shiny yellow faces blushing with hues of rosy red and pink.
Given its pale color, I was surprised to learn that this cherry is a hybrid of two sweet, red varieties — the familiar Oregon Bing and the Canadian Van. Developed at Washington State University in 1952, it’s named, as you might have guessed, for Mount Rainier, the state’s iconic volcanic peak.
While the sturdier, more plentiful Bings with their sweet, rich crunch are one of summer’s great treats, I always look forward to the arrival of the delicate, creamy Washington Rainiers. Both have been delicious this year. Get the Rainiers while you can: the growing season lasts from June through August.
According to University of California–Davis agriculture researchers, the apricot originated in China and was extensively cultivated in the Mediterranean before it was brought to North America.
Its initial introduction in Virginia was unsuccessful, but when Spanish missionaries brought the apricot to California in the late 1700s, its cultivation in North America took off. California now leads the U.S. in apricot production, growing about 95 percent of the fruit.
I found the delectable ripe apricots below in late June at our local Sprout’s market. I loved the rich orange tones on their velvety skin and couldn’t wait to photograph them in this Italian pottery bowl with its complementary blues and corresponding oranges and ambers.
The bowl is one of my favorite pieces, for its design and its association. It comes from Deruta, a medieval hill town and historic majolica pottery center in Italy’s Umbria region, and always reminds me of the day my partner and I spent exploring the town and its famed ceramics.
We loved talking to people, learning about the antique and modern hand-painted pottery, and — smitten by what we saw — searching for a piece to take home. We came away with a set of these bowls, modern with a traditional design, which we use constantly.
Because nectarines are similar to peaches, but noticeably different in taste and texture, I always thought they were a separate fruit, perhaps a hybrid. Writing this post I discovered that a nectarine is actually a peach without the fuzz.
The two fruits are genetically the same, with just one recessive gene responsible for the nectarine’s smooth, fuzz-free skin.
Our local stores have had a bounty of both types of nectarine, the tart-and-sweet yellow variety and the sweeter, low-acid white, pictured in the photos below.
The ultra-bright reds of these beautiful fruits really popped against streamlined black and white and black-on-black backgrounds. I think the mid-century modern designers of the ceramics in the photos would approve.
Russel Wright (1904-1976) designed the white ceramics. The long, black, oval bowl is by Ben Seibel (1918-1985). For several years, my partner and I enjoyed collecting their vintage dinnerware, and it’s always in service here at the cafe. I love using these stylish retro pieces in my food photography.
In the final photo is the Russel Wright sake bottle. The cherry bowl in the photo at the top is a creamer from his Paden City pottery line.
In difficult times it’s more important than ever to appreciate the beauty in our world and elemental human pleasures, like the delightful fruits of summer. Enjoy the season and make it special for yourself and those you love. ♥
Fruit information in this post was sourced from:
University of California–Davis, Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center, http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/
Specialty Produce, https://www.specialtyproduce.com/
Licensable, high-resolution versions of photographs in this post, and select images from other My Eclectic Café posts are available on Shutterstock.com. Click here to view my Vince360 Shutterstock photo portfolio. You can also find my photos on Adobe and Dreamstime.
Copyright M. Vincent 2020. All photos copyright M. Vincent 2020.