As far as summer fruit is concerned, size doesn’t matter.
You may have noticed that peaches, nectarines, and other summer fruits seem smaller now than in years past. Drought conditions in California, where much of our fruit is grown, as well as a shorter winter may be to blame. The good news: This petite produce tastes just as good as the bigger versions—possibly even better, according to farmers and other experts.
“If you pick a good variety at the peak of maturity, the flavor will be great regardless of the size,” Chelsea McClarty Ketelsen, a fifth-generation farmer who works with her family’s HMC Farms, told Health.
Suzanne Goin, a chef who runs A.O.C., Lucques, and two other Los Angeles-area restaurants, agrees, recently telling The New York Times, “The fruit is smaller and there is less of it, but it’s super-tasty and more intense.”
Why does a shorter winter affect fruit size? “The trees don’t have as much time to recharge,” Jeff Simonian, vice president of the Simonian Fruit Company, explained to Health. Adds Ketelsen, “The season has been consistently seven to ten days earlier than last year, which means you're losing those growing days. In a commodity that can turn from ripe to over-ripe in an afternoon, a few extra days of maturity can make a big difference.”
Fruit that comes later in the season, like in August and September, may be “more normal size,” Simonian said. Whenever you're picking your produce, he adds, look for color (avoid green-hued fruit), condition (avoid it if it’s bruised or overly soft), and smell (the best ones will smell sweet and bright) for the best and most delicious taste.