Fruit news: If Rainier cherries are your thing, get 'em this week because they'll soon be over for the year. But there are lots of other cherry varieties worth trying, some you may never have heard of, like Attica, Lambert, Skeena, Lapin, and Regina. Nectarines are peaking, with earlier varieties of peachesRed Havens, Rich Lady, White Lady, and Red Starscoming on strong. If you want to get really extravagant, skin the fruit (15 seconds in boiling water, slip the skin off under cold), mash up a box of raspberries, sweeten to taste, and spoon over the peaches for a fabulous and fat-free summer dessert treat. Other fruits in season: blueberries, of course, but mulberries, gooseberries, and currants are all enjoying their short seasons. And the very first local Asian pears are making their debut as well.
Vegetable news: Keep a sharp eye out for sweet corn. You may have to got to the Columbia City farmers market (Wednesdays 4-7 p.m.) or Magnolia (Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) to find Alvarez Farm ears, but the U District market should be stocked up on corn from Quincy by Saturday, Aug. 2. Look for tiny beets with lush greens atop: There is no better cooked vegetable on earth than beet greens, steamed in a little butter or bacon grease and finished with salt, pepper, and a dash of mild vinegar. Speaking of bacon grease and vinegar: Have you made a wilted lettuce salad yet this summer?
Herb news: Outdoor-grown, sun-sweetened basil is beginning to turn up everywhere. Tomatoes, too: A mere sniff will tell you whether the fruit in question was sun-ripened or greenhouse-grown. For some reason, the latter don't have that lovely musky fragrance, though they may taste just as good.