Fruits from mainland sweeten summer season

In Hawaii the summer mango and lychee seasons are anticipated with much delight. But summer is also a special time for mainland fruit: peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries — fruits that need a cooler climate to flourish.

These luscious seasonal fruits come mostly from San Joaquin Valley in California, where fruit farmers are in the midst of a harvest that will continue through the end of summer.

In early April the weather warmed up after some adverse conditions, and the set of fruit on trees was promising, according to Bill Slattery of Kingsburg Orchard, a supplier of fruit to Hawaii markets.

Sometimes stone fruit in Hawaii can be disappointing for its lack of flavor, poor texture and bruising. Remember that these fruit have to endure travel over a few thousand miles over several days; their condition is not for lack of effort on the growers’ part.

“We pick our fruit at the optimum of ripeness,” Slattery said. “We pick a tree two, three or four times by hand; our pickers have worked for us for many years and know ripe fruit. Even though a fruit may be firm, it is picked tree-ripe and has a good flavor profile.”

Fruit are packed immediately from the field, cooled, then shipped via refrigerated ocean container (occasionally via air) to the islands. The cold chain is maintained all the way to the supermarket.