Usually by this time of year my kitchen counter is laden with sweet raspberries for making jam, strawberries for sprinkling on cereal, snap-peas and fresh beans for eating and cooking — all from the farmers’ market. By June I’m devouring breathy salads (not warming soups) made with first-growth greens, and planning summer canning sessions using local fruit.

And yet, today it’s raining again, and soup is on the stove. Farmers market offerings seem to be hit or miss, with more reports of growing delays related to the weather.

Even so, I found small peaches at a recent Tuesday farmers’ market, a surprise early showing, as well as plump Bing cherries at peak flavor. There were fava beans, gorgeous green garlic and young arugula, to round out the mix, as well as an abundance of herbs and leafy chard.

Amazingly you can still buy blood-oranges, Meyer lemons, and kumquats, mostly arriving from the south.

Stone fruit is beginning to make an appearance. California apriums — a cross between apricot and plum – are at Berkeley Bowl and their berry selection is off the hook.

………………..

Berkeley Farmers Markets take place on Tuesdays, 2-6pm, at Derby Street @ MLK Jr. Way; Thursdays, 2-6pm, at Shattuck @ Rose Street; and on Saturdays, 10am-3pm, at Center Street @ MLK Jr. Way.

Love the Berkeley Farmers Market?  Cast your vote for the Best Farmers’ Market, 2010 Best of the BayList.

Romney Steele is a freelance writer, cook and artist, and the author of My Nepenthe. Read her previous Market Reports here.

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