In July of 2009, FruitGuys founder and CEO Chris Mittelstaedt was a guest on the local TV show View from the Bay, which explores food and entertainment in the San Francisco Bay Area. He joined the show’s hosts to educate viewers about picking the best fruit — stone fruit, in particular.
For those who don’t know the difference between stone fruit and other varieties, you can easily tell if the fruit has a large pit in its center. Mittelstaedt arranged his fruit by season, starting with cherries, which are typically the first stone fruits to ripen in the summertime. Taking a moment to differentiate between the red Bing cherries and the white Rainier cherries, he shared that each cherry variety has a peak time for sweetness and overall flavor. The Rainier, however, is a more sensitive cherry that was originally crossed from the Bing and Van varieties.
While the Pacific Northwest is known for cherry cultivation, California also has a remarkable climate for growing all types of stone fruit. Following cherries, apricots are usually the next fruit to ripen. Mittelstaedt also brought two different apricot breeds — the orange Tomcot and a white Angelcot hybrid, which has been crossbred in Brentwood, California to achieve a more delicate tasting fruit. From there, he showcased the FruitGuys’ favorite peach and nectarine styles, which are distinguished by having either a white or yellow skin. In a typical yellow peach, there are more acids present, which gives the fruit a tarter flavor. White fruits, however, have little to no acid, so the flavor profile is more sugary. Finally, Mittelstaedt took some time to feature a few unique plums, such as the sweet Santa Rosa and the earthy Owen varieties.
Color, it turns out, is a huge indicator of which antioxidants and nutrients will be found in your fruit. Eating a piece of fruit with the skin is important if you want to fully benefit from those nutrients. Stone fruits shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator, though, because the cold temperatures can damage them and affect the taste. If fruit is exposed to temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit — also called “the killing zone” with stone fruit — it will quickly turn brown and mushy. Instead, it’s best to keep your fruits at room temperature and eat them fresh. For the FruitGuys, picking the best fruit is about choosing quality breeds, finding them at the freshest source, and storing them properly until they’re ready to enjoy.