Rhubarb (February - Mid Summer)
Michigan was once the rhubarb basket of the country, with hundreds of acres devoted to its cultivation. The first rhubarb on the market is grown in hothouses, while that grown outside appears in mid-April. The rhubarb stalk, eaten straight, is intensely sour (and the broad leaf is poisonous), but when coarsely chopped and cooked slowly for a half hour with a generous dose of sugar, it becomes a treat by itself or over cottage cheese. It makes a wonderful pie, especially when mixed with strawberries. For more, take a moment to consult our rhubarb information website, which will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about rhubarb, and offers many delicious recipes. (Technically, rhubarb is not a fruit, but since it is always eaten sugared, it is included here.)
Strawberries (Late June - July 15th)
Always eagerly awaited, strawberries are Nature's announcement that Summer has arrived.
Black Cherries (July 4th - Mid-August)
Meant for eating, these sweet, dark beauties are hard to resist. They tend to precede tart cherries and be
around a week or so after their brighter cousins are through.
Tart Cherries (Late July - Mid-August)
Michigan's favorite, usually used in pies. To learn more about tart cherries visit the Cherry Marketing Institute.
Black Raspberries (Mid-July)
Not to be confused with red raspberries, the "King of all Raspberries" has many tiny seeds and unique flavor. They have about a three-week season.
Red Raspberries (Mid-July & Late August through Mid October)
Kern Road Farm will be bringing summer red raspberries, along with hand-prepared jams, preserves and flavored vinegars made from fruit grown on their farm. Don Gibbs (and a few other farmers, although not in his quantities) bring red raspberries to market in late August, so you could say the Market now has two raspberry seasons.
Blueberries (Mid-July - Mid-September)
Blueberries appear with the cherries, and continue until just after Labor Day, becoming sweeter (although blander) with each passing month. A traditional favorite (aside from pies and cobblers) is fresh fruit salad involving blueberries and peaches.
Apricots (Late July - Mid-September)
Apples (July - March)
Without a doubt apples best mark the fruit seasons of the Royal Oak Farmers Market. From the earliest Lodi variety (and the rarer Transparent, both excellent for applesauce), through early apples like Paula Red to the best-known McIntosh and Delicious varieties, apples are found in abundance. Our vendors offer the chance to sample several heirloom varieties such as Cox's Orange Pippin, Newtown Pippin (very old apples of English ancestry), Snow and Kendall. Several vendors now offer newer varieties like Pricilla and Gala. After apple-shopping at the Farmers Market you will never again be able to say that "all apples taste alike." The Michigan Apple Committee offers useful information on several new and traditional varieties of apples grown in our state, most of which are sold at the Farmers Market.
Plums (August - September)
Our farmers offer green, yellow and purple plums.
Melons (Mid-August - Mid-September)
Cantaloupe (especially the rough-skinned Honey Rock variety) is the most prevalent melon at the Farmers Market, and one that people flock from near and far to buy. Small watermelons are available in August, but the big ones aren't really ready until September. Some farmers also raise Honeydew melons.
Peaches (Mid-August - Mid-September)
Peaches, purchased hard (but not green!) will ripen naturally in a day or so, if left on the counter. Their juicy, succulent flesh invites quick eating, but don't forget they make great jam, excellent pies and wonderful shortcakes.
Pears (Late August - October)
The last major fruit to put in an appearance, pears are usually divided into the early Bartlett (sweet and juicy) and the later, drier Bosc, which will keep well if stored properly. Some vendors will also have Clapp's favorite or russet pears.
While Michigan is not a native host to the varieties grown in California, many people like the deep flavor of Concord, which is the base of jam.