Father’s Day Weekend and Fresh Produce

This second weekend of June 2014 is Father’s Day, a celebration that I realized that I had never taken the time to really understand.  Since the days of my early childhood to even today with my father, and even now when I am the father of a fantastic 10 year old son, I found myself still not having the answer, so I figured that it was about time to do a little digging and grasp the importance of this day.

The origin dates back to the early 20th century, in conjunction with Mother’s Day, initially brought about as a celebration of fatherhood and to honor our forefathers.  History tells us the 1st Father’s day celebration, founded it Spokane, Washington took place on June 19, 1910.  Initiated by Sonora Smart Dodd, her father a Civil War veteran and single parent responsible for raising six children.  The ‘official’ recognition of Father’s Day did take some time to catch on.  In 1913 a bill was drafted initiating the request for a holiday, 1924 brought support from President Calvin Coolidge and finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson declared Father’s Day a federal holiday.

While the actual date of the celebration does vary among countries, traditions and celebrations all seem to center around special meals, family outings and quality time spent with family and friends.

This year I thought it would be perfect to be proactive and have a plan in place for celebrating Father’s Day.  There is no question that food, wine and quality time with friends and family is what we are all about.  So, this weekend the family will make the trek into San Francisco and hit the Saturday morning farmer’s market at the Ferry Plaza Building.  My son’s interest in food is growing; he now questions me on where things come from and how to determine the quality.  Even better is he now stands on a stool next to me and is learning how to chop and dice on is own cutting board.  I can’t think of a better place to share my passions with my son and for us to have a little bonding time.

In the world of produce there is no questioning the bounty and variety of fresh produce we have available to us here in California, especially the SF Bay area.  With the heat index rising, we begin to see the first of the season Black Mission figs from the Fresno area arriving at local markets.  This early harvest of figs will last only two or three weeks, before the four to six week break before the second harvest season of figs happens.  During the second harvest additional varietals become available, supplies are more readily available and the flavor intensity is explosive!

Bing cherries are in full swing; they are large in size with deep and rich flavor profiles. This is the perfect time to get in the kitchen and put away a few jars of cherry jam and please let’s not forget about grandma’s homemade CHERRY PIE’S!!

Spring berries have achieved an even higher level of quality and flavor.  Strawberries are no longer the stars of the shelves; keep an eye out for Boysenberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Let’s not forget about our vegetables, yellow wax beans, haricots verts, bluelakes and Romano beans have arrived in full force and have outstanding quality.  Early summer squash and various zucchini are beginning to shine as well.

Hit your local farmer’s market, fill up your baskets and embrace your time together with your family and friends.  Get in the kitchen and get cooking.

Submitted by Layer Cake Wines fan, Michael Laukert