Market Report: Plucots vs. pluots, ‘90s cafe culture is back

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Bob Wiebe explains that plucots are 50% plum and apricot and, since the flesh sticks to the pit, are best eaten handheld. Photo by Gillian Ferguson.

Some favorite stone fruit varieties only appear at the farmer's market for a few, short weeks — like the Flavorella, a plucot grown by Bob Wiebe at Juicy Fruit Farms in Reedley in the San Joaquin Valley. While pluots are more plum than apricot, plucots are a 50/50 blend. The Flavorella was originally bred in the Modesto area, and Wiebe believes he is one of only two farmers who grow plucots. Chefs love the orangish-yellow fruit with a red blush because of its high acid and sugar content. The pit adheres to the fruit, so Wiebe recommends handheld eating. Following plucots, look for more plums in the upcoming weeks.

Next, market correspondent Gillian Ferguson speaks to Macklin Casnoff, chef and co-owner of Stir Crazy, a small plates and wine bar on Melrose Avenue. Casnoff describes the six-week old spot as "kind of a Central Perk-style '90s coffee shop," and says it's part of the resurgence of cafe culture, featuring venues where guests can enjoy a full meal or a small bite and a glass of wine. The menu runs the gamut from a new sausage dish to a large celery salad. He blanches Valdivia Farms' cherry tomatoes, then peels back their skin before marinating them in a kombu dashi. Open 4 to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, Stir Crazy is slated to start weekend service later this summer.

High acid balanced with sweetness make Flavorella plucots a favorite among chefs. Photo by Gillian Ferguson/KCRW