Califonia Bountiful

Berry good and ready for harvest!

From strawberries and raspberries to blueberries and blackberries, fresh California-grown berries are a healthy indulgence.

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A beacon of springtime and warmer weather on the horizon, fresh California berries of every shape, size and color are in high demand this time of year. And many of them start along the Central Coast of California, where the cool coastal climate, rich soil, dedicated farmers and skilled workers add up to the perfect recipe for success. For farmer Tom Amrhein, growing the little berries requires a big commitment throughout the year, but he says it's all worth it in the end as he sees people enjoying the fruits of his labor.

From strawberries to raspberries to blueberries, farmers in the Golden State can grow them all. But at Tom's Watsonville farm, blackberries reign supreme these days. When choosing blackberries, he says, look for deep, evenly colored fruit with a nice sheen. They should be plump and dry and shouldn't have many dents or bruises.

In addition to farming, Tom believes in connecting foodies with farmers like himself—so he gives tours to folks interested in what it takes to get produce from the farm to their forks. On one recent tour, Tom showed food professionals from all over the country, as well as chefs and students from the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, what a day in the life of a farmer is all about.

Someone who understands the complexities involved with growing produce is Chef Ressul Rassallat from the nearby and world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Course and Resort. As you might guess, his diners are particularly discerning—being accustomed to only the best food. And while working in such a prestigious restaurant does have its challenges, it has its advantages too—mainly access to the bounty of local produce that is all around him.

Chef Ressul calls fresh California-grown berries a healthy indulgence—one he can't get enough of. From his four berry gelée to his raspberry soufflé, berries are cared for as delicately in the kitchen as they are out in the field. And dazzling diners with their creations is exactly what chefs like Ressul enjoy most about their favorite homegrown product.

For more information about Naturipe Berries, visit

For more information about Pebble Beach, visit

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