Botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit. It has seeds and it ripens, just like any other piece of fruit. In fact, it's a subtropical fruit, just like the banana. No one puts their bananas in the refrigerator to ripen them, so it's a mystery to me why some people abuse their tomatoes by chilling them. Tomatoes are a summer crop and they love the heat. Right now we are starting to see some of the best tomatoes of the summer season, from regular reds and heirlooms to the many tiny cherry, grape and cocktail varieties. They're all California grown, many from local farms, and most are selling for about $2 per pound. Pick tomatoes with clean stem ends and firm blossom ends. When you get them home, set them out on the counter, out of direct sunlight. Keep them covered and keep them together. Once they're fully ripe, you can refrigerate them -- but for no more than 48 hours. Cold kills their flavor.
Michael Marks is the marketing manager for FreshPoint.
$1.99 to $2.49 per pound
Tips: We are finally seeing some good prices on red cherries -- and the best quality of the entire season.
Local farms, San Joaquin Valley
99 cents to $1.49 per pound
Tips: Make sure there is no decay on the stem end. Smaller, straighter cucumbers will look better in the pickle jar.
$3.99 to $4.49 per basket
Tips: Look for plump figs. If they're flat on one side, these first-of-the-season figs have been sitting around too long.