LONDON GROVE -- If ever there was a good week to follow the doctors' nutritional advice, it's now.
Thanks to the proper conditions during the winter and a spring that provided sunshine and warmth, the fruits and vegetables are coming on in great quantity in southern Chester County. Everywhere shoppers look, the shelves are overflowing with handsome peppers, corn, tomatoes and root vegetables.
The even better news is that this is the week the freestone peaches are going on the market, having been preceded by two weeks or so of the cling -- the ones that hold so tight to their seeds.
Glen Willow Orchards co-owner Steve Rosazzo said customers start asking about peaches as early as June. 'I tell them to wait until July, but when the cling peaches come, they say they'll wait until the freestones arrive,' he said.
'By the time your paper comes out, the freestones will be here,' he added.
Throughout the weekend the farm markets were crowded with people filling up bags not only with the fresh fruits, but for the vegetables, that were in abundance. The farm stand on the west end of Kennett Square had totally sold out of peaches by 2 p.m. Saturday, and on Sunday morning the parking lot at Pete's Produce in Westtown was full with people crowding around the corn, peaches and tomatoes.
Rosazzo, who closes his Avondale area market during the month of July, was nonetheless harvesting throughout the period, and his crops could be seen at Giant stores and Janssens, to name a few.
Why is it such a good growing year?
Although many in the regions were more than happy to bid the past winter adieu, Rosazzo said it was OK for the crops. 'It wasn't a bad winter. It stayed cold and we didn't get a lot of fluctuation. Then we had a mild spring,' he said.
Now the fruit is coming on rich and sweet. That's because there's been plenty of sun and heat this summer, which releases the sugars, he said.
Everything is good except there's been a little beetle problem this year, he added.
Diego Medina who farms in West Marlborough and operates the farm stand at routes 926 and 82 in Willowdale is likewise pleased with the season.
He said the tomatoes came a little late, with the early arrivals in the region coming from New Jersey. 'I opened up on July 2, and most of it was from Jersey,' he said.
Now, however, the crops are his own. 'The yellow and green zucchini are good and the local corn is here,' he said.
He's not complaining, although he said his corn could use a little more rain.
One thing that's coming on strong is the cucumbers. 'We have them coming out our ears,' Medina said.
Meanwhile, the cars were stopping at the farm stand at the west end of Cypress Street. The workers there said things have been good, especially anything they pick from under the earth.