Pickles and Cherries

It's pickling season! Call now to place your orders for fresh Kirbygrown pickling cucumbers. 3-4" are best for making whole dills, and 5-6" are preferred for bread and butter slices, chunks or relish. If you've been in the market lately, you now that July is also cherry season. We've had sweet cherries for a while and sour cherries will be arriving soon.

One important Cherry tradition at Kirby's is the IQF cherry pickup. IQF stands for Individually Quick Frozen, and there's no sugar added. We have 4lb bags of sour 8lb bags of sweet, and 6lb bags of blueberries available in the market year round. The July pickup is special because you can order them in 20lb or 40lb bags and save money by buying in bulk. IQF fruit is extremely convenient for baking. Since they're pitted it's less work, and the individually frozen fruits don't stick together, so they are easy to pour. They're great for smoothies, and super refreshing on a hot summer day eaten right out of the bag.

Our pickup days this year are August 5th and 6th between 9am and noon. Orders must be placed by July 31st. Bring a nice, big, cooler when you come to pick them up so they'll stay frozen on the trip home.

August Perennial of the Month : Echinacea


The Echinacea (Coneflower) at the market is putting on quite a show right now! These tough, enthusiastic plants are easy to grow in most gardens. Stop by and enjoy all the summer color in our perennial area and display gardens!

Perennial Manager Jaime Brennan tells us about Echinacea, the perennial of the month here at Kirby's:

"Echinacea has been around for a long time (North American Plains Indians used it for a variety of medicinal purposes. They learned about it by watching injured or sick elk that sought out the plant!) and is a plant that is shared between many gardeners.

"It is always fun to see where it wants to be in your garden. You may have planted it in one garden the year before and have found it chose a new location the following year, maybe with the help of a winged friend. You can find a large array of Echinaceas from purpurea to newer varieties like 'Hot Papaya'. They are all striking and provide a food source for butterflies when they are in bloom and for birds when they have gone to seed."

  • In 1998, the Perennial Plant Association chose Echinacea purpurea "Magnus" as the perennial of the year.
  • Some varieties are fragrant
  • Echinaceas are considered deer resistant.
  • Echinacea makes a great cut flower for bouquets, lasting up to two weeks in a vase.
  • The spiky brown seedheads are also great for dried arrangements.
  • Echinacea is well known for it's medicinal benefits.  For a scientific look, go here.

We carry 16 different kinds of Echinacea at Kirby's: Echinacea purpurea; 'After Midnight'; 'Double Decker'; 'Fatal Attraction'; 'Fragrant Angel'; 'Green Envy'; 'Green Jewel'; 'Hot Papaya'; 'Magnus'; 'Pink Double Delight'; 'Ruby Giant'; 'Ruby Star';'Virgin', 'Big Sky', 'Sombrero Hot Pink', and 'Sunrise'. There is a color and a style for everyone!



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What's Fresh

Peaches - bushels of peaches arrived this morning. As you can see, the color is gorgeous. We pick our peaches tree ripened for flavor and a little firm to avoid bruising. The first peaches are always clingstone  (the fruit clings to the pit) but the flavor and incredible juiciness make up for it!

Sweet Corn- Our very own. Order by the bushel for your next summer picnic!

Tomatoes - nothing compares to the taste of a field grown tomato! Available by the pound right now, but canning season is just around the corner. Stay tuned...

Sweet Peppers - green for now, the red are getting redder all the time in this sunshine!

Eggplant - a unique vegetable in appearance and texture... eggplant parm, anyone?

Pickles - you can pick up these tiny, crisp versions of cucumbers one at a time or by the bushel. Our favorite cucumbers for salads. Available in 3-4" (perfect for whole dills) or 5-6" (best for sweet chunks, relishes and slicing). We also have regular cucumbers for slicing.

Zucchini and Summer Squash -  Have you tried grilling zucchini yet? Just toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, maybe some fresh herbs and you're good to go.

Black Raspberries - Fill a few freezer bags to enjoy this amazing flavor in the winter time! Great with yogurt for breakfast, in cobblers, cakes and pies... if they make it home, that is.

Beets - have you tried them shredded on top of salads? They add a wonderful splash of color to so many dishes

Sweet Cherries - won't be here too much longer. Another great treat to stock up in the freezer!

Sour Cherries - Their season is very short, so grab them while they're here. If you're a fan of these refreshing, sweet-tart stone fruits, check out the previous blog entry. You can enjoy them allll year long.

Locally grown - we also have blueberries from Fabry's in Holley, red raspberries from Brown's in Waterport, and carrots from a farm in the Rochester area.



In Season Now

Dark Sweet Cherries showed up last Saturday.

Freeze them, dry them, blend them with lemonade, toss some onto a salad - if they make it home that is!  When the Sweet Cherries show up, Sour Cherries can't be far behind.

July is fast approaching!

We've had strawberries for several weeks but they won't be here much longer. Now is the time to purchase by the flat for jam, juice, and freezing. Freezing is my favorite way to preserve strawberries for the winter. Last year I somehow ran out of time and only got around to making jam. Let me tell you, I missed them alll winter. And I learned my lesson - there are eight quarts in my freezer right now!

Our lettuce is grown right behind the market,

so we can take a short walk out back and pick more whenever we need to. We keep at least two heads of each type available (Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Ithaca, and Buttercrunch), and you know it's fresh! I didn't know what good lettuce was until we started growing it ourselves. It is so sweet and tender and beautiful!

Regular Peas are still going strong!

We'll have them for a few more weeks, so take a few pounds home to enjoy a little pea-shelling meditation on the front porch.

Ode to a Busy Saturday Morning

Five bushels of edible pod peas, still warm from the sun.

Twelve flats of strawberries, surrounded by a cloud of sweet perfume.

Crisp lettuce, like huge, ruffled, green roses, lined up patiently in a crate.

A pile of curling garlic scapes, like the discarded jewelry of faeries, ready to add garlicky flavor to anything cooking in the kitchen.

A wagon loaded with forty pounds of strawberries, picked by three generations!

The last of the asparagus: short, tender and sweet, like a final good bye from Spring.

They all disappear one by one, in the hands of a steady stream of fruit and vegetable lovers. Our customers!


Baked Goods from Greg'ry's, Bergen, NY

Aside from the beautiful produce coming in on this beautiful day, I am excited to share the news with you that we are once again carrying baked goods from Greg'ry's Bakery in Bergen. For years we sold rows of their delicious fruit-filled pies, stacks of cookies and plenty of loaves of bread. Once again our display is full of their high quality treats. (I have spent the entire morning resisting the urge to try one of everything! Now I just have to make the choice between giant cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, scone or a little strawberry rhubarb pies...what to pick...).  Stop by on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday and savor a treat from Greg'ry's!

A Memorial Day Update!

I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for the weather this Memorial Day weekend (pretty sure I'm not alone on that)! But it has been so nice, aside from those brief, spotty showers Saturday morning. The sunshine is a boon for barbecues, gardeners and garden centers alike. We need a little break from the wet to relax by the grill, visit with friends and family, and to add a little beauty around our houses - colorful annuals, hardy perennials, and a tomato or six.

Out on the farm, we've been lucky enough to continue planting in most areas. There are a few fields that look more like a swamp then a field, but the high, sandy soil here on the Ridge is a huge benefit. When asked about the weather, Farmer Tim will answer, "First it was challenging, then it was frustrating, and now it's just unbelievable." Things are still growing though! Yesterday we saw the first bloom on the pea plants - fresh peas in about three weeks!

In the market right now, we have fresh Kirbygrown asparagus, spinach and rhubarb. We also have three varieties of CA Apples: Empire; AC Mac; and Crispin. (CA stands for controlled atmosphere, a method of storage that keeps the apples unbelievably crisp.) I had a Mac for lunch earlier and it was great! The apples are absolutely delicious with Kutter's cheddar, available in our cooler right now.

Walking around in the greenhouse area is so pleasant today. It's warm in the sun with a little breeze, and there are flowers everywhere. Peony, foxglove, lupine, poppy, columbine and coral bells are just a few perennials in bloom. We have container gardens of various sizes for sale, perfect for Memorial Day, or brightening up your porch or deck. Stop by soon, some varieties are selling out!