This week’s solstice announces the arrival of autumn, but already fall produce is arriving ahead of schedule at the .
“This is the first picking of the pomegranates, so they’re small,” said Juan Alvarez from of Bakersfield. “I promise they will get larger in the next couple of weeks."
Red-skinned pomegranates are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Alvarez says the fruit is packed with positive health benefits such as lowering high blood pressure and naturally lowering sugar levels for diabetics.
“Pomegranates also help boost the immune system,” he said.
To prepare a fresh pomegranate, crack open the thick bulbous fruit with a knife until you can pull it open with your fingers. When the fruit is ripe, hold the pomegranate section upside down and tap with a spoon. This will cause the tiny seeds to fall out from the white pith.
Autumn has also arrived early over at the stand where there are two different varieties, red and green, of fresh picked pears.
Pears do not change color when ripe, so gently squeeze the neck of the pear to see if it is soft. It is best to let them sit out on a windowsill for a few days to ripen. The red and green color of the skin adds a bust of color to salads, desserts and cheese boards.
Ha’s also has a small harvest of small purple plums, which also may be dried and turned into prunes.
Over at the stand, there is a selection of end-of-summer chili peppers—Serrano, tomatillos and the traditional spicy green jalapeno. These peppers will take the chill out of autumn and add a little summer heat to any dish. If spicy is not your thing, Smith Farms also has sweet summer yellow peppers.