Savor the sweet flavors of summer with fresh berries at Concord Farmers Market

Savor the sweet flavors of summer with fresh berries at Concord Farmers Market

Savor the sweet flavors of summer with fresh berries at Concord Farmers Market
Concord Farmers Market photo by Pete Cruz.

CONCORD, CA (June 21, 2022) — Sweet strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and red and golden raspberries are abundant during the summer months.

They are delicious whether you enjoy them in fruit salads, desserts, smoothies or just eaten in hand. With their hefty nutritional value and sweet taste, you can’t lose.

Purchasing them from your local farmers market ensures you get that just-picked flavor. The farmers harvest them at the peak of ripeness, rather than those picked under-ripe to ship from outlying sources. If you see strawberries at the grocery store that are still hard and white inside, it means they have been picked too early – rather than allowing them to ripen on the vine to develop their lovely, sweet flavor.

The natural sugars appear toward the end of a berry’s ripening, so the later you pick them the sweeter the berries. All berries are fragile and should be eaten as soon after purchase as possible – another reason to get them at your farmers market. Freshness is key.


Locally grown strawberries are the cultivated descendants of the original wild varieties. Strawberries thrive along California’s coast because western ocean exposure and Pacific winds insulate the fields from extreme temperatures and weather, providing ideal conditions for growing them year-round. Varieties you’ll find in local farmers markets include Frontera, Monterey and Albion, each with slightly differing sweetness, season and size.


The wonder child of the berry world. Touted as one of nature’s superfoods, they’re filled with vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese and antioxidants. Substances called polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins, give blueberries their blue hue and are the major contributors to their antioxidant activity. At the farmers market, you’ll find the High Bush variety, which is the kind farmers cultivate, as compared to Low Bush, which are wild.


Though they’re the most fragile of all the berries, their tangy sweet taste and health benefits make them worth every little bite. Varieties are available in red, black, purple and gold hues, with red raspberries remaining the favorite. There are many hybrids within these colors as well. Ask your farmer which is best for your usage.


Like raspberries, blackberries are considered brambles. If you grew up in the Bay Area, you’ve driven by many a bush of wild Himalayan blackberries. Most farmers consider these a nuisance because they take over land by spreading their roots and long brambles everywhere. Some of the varieties grown by berry farmers are the Navaho and the Triple Crown.

You’ll find sweet summer berries at your Concord Farmers Market from Vasquez Berry Farms in Moss Landing and Rodriguez Farms out of Watsonville.

Cherry Berry Jam

2½ c. sugar (divided)
1 package “low or no-sugar needed” pectin
2 c. cherries, pitted, coarsely chopped
1 c. blackberries, chopped
1½ c. strawberries, hulled, chopped
3 T lemon juice
½ c. distilled water

Mix ¼ c. sugar with 1 package pectin; set aside.

Put berries, juice and water into a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Add pectin/sugar mixture and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add remaining sugar, stir, bring to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute.

Check for jell by “cold spoon method.” (Dip spoon into jam mixture and place in refrigerator for a minute or two to check for jell.)

Once jelled, fill sterilized jam jars. Wipe rims, add lids and rings and tighten. Place jars in boiling water bath canner and process 15 minutes.

Cool on counter and listen for lids to pop, meaning they have sealed. If you have some that didn’t seal, you can place in the refrigerator for use sooner.

The Concord Farmers Market is in Todos Santos Plaza Tuesdays & Thursdays. For more information, visit their website.