Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PERSIMMONS AND MORE PERSIMMONS

Peeled persimmons hanging in the sun.
Late nights and long hours, the whole farm is focused on making hoshigaki, that sweet, chewy, tasty dried persimmon.  Picking, sorting, peeling, hanging, squeezing, protecting from the rain, squeezing, moving, bagging, freezing, tossing, squeezing, sorting, and  packaging are some of the steps for making this delicacy.  The persimmons we peeled in October are now for sale in the farm stand.  Now that the weather has turned cooler, we should start to get more tender hoshigaki. If you need hoshigaki to be sent out, please fill out the mail order form and mail it to us with your check.  Hoshigaki is available at the farm stand in limited grades.  If you want premium hoshigaki, it is best to call ahead (916) 791-1656 or email to inquire or reserve. 

Fuyu persimmons are in the height of their season.  For crisp, sweet fruit, now is the time to enjoy. Soon the weather will get too cold and the fuyu will start to get more tender.  Hachiya persimmons like the cold temperatures and start to soften more quickly.  It is those soft, pudding-like hachiya that are so good for fresh eating, cookies, puddings, or topping for yogurt or ice cream.

This has been a disappointing year for chocolate persimmon lovers. 
Perhaps there was too much rain last spring during pollination time.  The crop is very light and late.  The sweetness may be limited to just half or less of the fruit.

Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays we have fresh harvest of winter vegetables from Barley Oats Farms.  Fall in love with your greens all over again. You may also special order vegetables by visiting the Barley Oats farms web site and pick up your order at the farm stand.  We see fresh beets, kale, bak choi, lettuce, peas, radish, beets, cilantro, kohlrabi, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, leeks, green onions and more at the farm stand.

Here is what is available in the farm stand:

Persimmons: Fuyu, Hachiya, Gyombo, Nagamaru, and Vodka
Hoshigaki
Asian Pears:  Shinko, Okusankichi
Quince
Apples: Granny Smith, Fuji, Reinette Simerenko, and Pink Lady
Pomegranates:  Wonderful red, White
Walnuts
Kabocha
Local honey from our orchard
Persimmon cook books
Beeswax candles: 100% beeswax, they burn for 100 hours
Calendula lip balm and salve

2018 Master Gardener Calendars

From Barley Oats Farms: a beautiful array of winter vegetables

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fall Fruits and Vegetables

We now have more fuyu persimmons at the fruit stand.  Fuyu are the type of persimmon that are edible and sweet when they're firm.  We also have more of the maru and nagamaru (or chocolate) varieties of persimmons.  A limited amount of soft and ripe hachiya persimmons is available. Other fruit for sale includes  Asian pear, comice pear, pomegranates, apples (Fuji and Reinette Simerenko) and jujube.

New vegetables at the fruit stand are fresh and tender bok choy, lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, scallions and cilantro from Barley Oats Farms.  Barley Oats has started using a space at our orchard to grow fall and winter vegetables with organic practices. You can also order vegetables from Barley Oats Farms online and arrange to pick up at the fruit stand. Other available vegetables grown at our orchard gardens are sweet peppers (feher ozon, sweet chocolate, crest, banana, shishito), chile peppers (jalapenos, aji limon, cayenne, fish), cucumbers, tomatillos, okra and winter squash (kabocha, butternut and delicata).   

Just outside the fruit stand you can see the hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon) drying process.  We've been busy peeling new persimmons, stringing them together and hanging them on outside racks to dry. In the photo Chris is peeling persimmons and her mother, Helen, is in the background stringing them.  Visitors are welcome to stop by and see the process, although hoshigaki is not yet for sale at the fruit stand. We just started peeling persimmons for hoshigaki a few weeks ago and the process takes at least 4 weeks.  If you'd like to order hoshigaki we always recommend that people make orders as early as possible.  This is because each season's supply is limited to what we can produce while the weather works in our favor.

To order hoshigaki for pick up at the fruit stand, please stop by or call us.  To order hoshigaki through mail order, please fill out our mail order form and send it in with a check.  We don't take credit cards for mail orders or at the fruit stand.     

Thursday, October 5, 2017

2017 Hoshigaki Mail Orders

This season's hoshigaki mail order form is now up on our website.  You can find the link to it here or look for it under the website's hoshigaki/persimmon tab.  To order hoshigaki (Japanese massaged hand-dried persimmons) by mail order, please print out the form, fill it out and then mail it to us with a check for payment.  We are unable to take credit cards.

We started peeling persimmons this week to begin the hoshigaki drying process.  The drying process takes an average time of six weeks. Each persimmon fruit is hand-peeled, then strung together in a pair on a stick.  The sticks of strung persimmons are first placed on a rack in the sun to dry.  After the persimmons dry for a week or so, the sticks are moved inside to a more protected area.  Regular massaging happens throughout the weeks to help the hoshigaki dry evenly and remain a soft texture.  Towards the end of the drying process the hoshigaki naturally develop a light dusting of powdery sugar on their surface.

If you'd like to order hoshigaki by mail, we recommend that you send in your order as soon as possible.  Earliest orders ship out first and the drying season is weather-dependent.  Each season's supply is limited to what we can produce while persimmons are hard enough to peel and the weather is conducive to drying.  If you live close enough to pick up hoshigaki at our fruit stand, you can stop by or call us to place an order. 

Visitors to the fruit stand are welcome to look around and see the drying process.  Visitors are also welcome to walk out in the orchard and take a self-guided tour, but we're not a pick-your-own operation.  The fruit stand is open from 10-6 Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 10-5 Sundays.  Mondays we are closed. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

THIS IS WHAT OCTOBER BRINGS

     Along with apples, Asian pears and pomegranates, we are harvesting jujube.  This ancient fruit has crisp texture, edible skin, and a sweet-tart flavor like an apple. They are just the right size for snacking. They can be eaten from yellow to brown or even dried and wrinkled.  They contain many vitamins and minerals and are especially rich in vitamin C.  People have been known to eat jujube for a sore throat and other health benefits. I hope you will come try a few.

      At this time of year, many of our customers are starting to look for persimmons: fresh or dry, crisp or soft, orange, yellow, brown or sugary.  We are also waiting for the season to get going.  We see color on the fruit but most are still showing some green.  Another lesson in patience.

If you are interested in mail ordering hoshigaki this year, please check our web site after mid October for the mail order details.  This year we will not be sending out email reminders to past customers.  We are trying to be more efficient with our time and energy. Also, last year produced less hoshigaki than was requested so our energy needs to focus on the process not the emailing.  Check the web site, get your check and order form to us in the mail.  While on this topic, let me talk about cost.  While shipping and handling has been increasing, the price we charge for hoshigaki has remained the same since 2013.  This is not sustainable for us so you will see a rise in price this year.  For customers picking up hoshigaki at the farm stand,please call about availability and make your order.

IN THE FARM STAND
From Otow Orchard:
Asian Pears:  20th Century, Shinko,Yoi, Yali, Olympic
European Pears:  D Anjou
Pomegranates:  White and pink pomegranates
Apples:  Fuji, Reinette Simerenko
Jujube: Li Jujube
Quince

Vegetables:
Tomatoes:  very limited supply
Cherry tomatoes:  Sungold
Summer squash: yellow and green zucchini
Winter squash: Kabocha, Delicata
Cucumber: limited supply
Tomatillos
Peppers:  sweet peppers
Chile peppers:  Aji Limon, Jalapenos, Feher Ozon, Shishito
Okra
Basil


From Sunnyslope Farm:
Fresh chestnuts

Also available:  Honey, 100% Beeswax Candles, Good Stuff Jam, Calendula Salve and Lip Balm, 2018 Placer County Master Gardeners Calenders, Firewood

Monday, September 11, 2017

ASIAN PEAR SEASON

Asian Pear season is upon us.  Asian pears are eaten when firm like an apple. We have several different varieties.  20th Century (Nijiseiki) is a sweet, yellow, crisp and juicy variety that is very popular in Japan.   New Century (Shinseiki) is a large round yellow pear that is crunchy and sweet.  Yali is shaped like a Bartlett pear but has the crisp, sweet and juicy texture of an Asian pear.   Yoi is a very sweet, crisp, juicy and almost caramel flavored pear. Shinko Asian pears are sweet, juicy and have a nice crunch.  If you can't decide which pear you would like, please ask for a sample.  On the horizon are pomegranates, jujube, persimmons and quince.

AVAILABLE IN THE FARM STAND
From Otow Orchard:
Peaches:  a few Late Alamar and Summerset
Plums:  Casselman
Asian Pears:  20th Century, New Century, Yoi, Shinko, Yali
European Pears:  Bartlett
Pomegranates:  a few white pomegranates
Apples:  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious
Figs:  Black Mission, Brown Turkey, White Figs, Green figs
Jujube: Li Jujube

Vegetables:  Tomatoes, Summer squash, Winter squash (Kabocha, Delicata),      Eggplant, Cucumber, Tomatillos, Long Beans, Peppers (sweet peppers, chile peppers), Okra, Basil

Also available:  Honey, 100% Beeswax Candles, Good Stuff Jam, Calendula Salve and Lip Balm, 2018 Placer County Master Gardeners Calenders

Monday, August 21, 2017

FIGS, GRAPES AND PEACHES

       We are now harvesting some of our favorite peaches:  Fay Elberta, Rio Oso Gem and O'Henry. If you haven't made peach pie, peach cobbler, peach crisp, peach jam or had a peach smoothie lately better do it before it is too late.  Most of our peaches will be gone in a month's time; not to return until next June.
       We seem to have a rainbow of figs this season:  Brown Turkey, Black Mission, Green figs and Yellow figs.  The Red Purlet grapes are finished and we have started harvesting those delicious, big, juicy, purple grapes called Kyoho.  Remove the stem and squeeze the sweet, juicy round flesh right into your mouth.  Then spit out the seed.  These are delicious and fun to eat. We are also harvesting Thompson seedless grapes.
        Pear season is here.  Whether you want a nice smooth Bartlet pear or a crisp, juicy Asian pear, they are both waiting for you.

AVAILABLE IN THE FARM STAND
From Otow Orchard:
Peaches:  Fay Elberta, Rio Oso Gem, O'Henry
Plums:  Kelsey, Casselman, Empress, Eldorado
Figs:  Brown Turkey, Black Mission, Green figs, Yellow figs
European Pears:  Bartlet
Asian Pears:  Hosui, Yoi, New Century, 2oth Century
Vegetables:  Tomatoes, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Armenian
       cucumbers, Long beans, Okra, Chilis, Sweet Peppers, Zucchini, Tomatillos,
       Delicata winter squash
Herbs:  Basil, Rosemary
Frozen wild blackberries

From Sunnyslope Farm in Granite Bay
Peaches:  Alberta, O'Henry
Pluots:  Flavor Grenade, Candy Stripe

From Pleasant Hill Farm in Lincoln
Asian Pears:  Hosui

Also available:
Salve, Lip Balm
Honey
Good Stuff Jam
100% Beeswax candles

Coming soon: 2018 Master Gardener's Calendar

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

IT'S NOT FALL YET, BUT GET READY

 Peaches, plums and pluots have been in short supply this year due to all that wonderful rain we had during the blossom season.  While there are still green (immature) peaches on the trees, there are not many of them. We expect to continue picking peaches as they mature for the next 3 to 5 weeks.  Tosh said "It's not over till it's over."
          Meanwhile, the fall crops are starting to perform.  The second crop of figs is here as are grapes, apples and Asian pears.  Some Bartlet pears have been harvested and we are holding them till they show some yellowing.
Gardens are still producing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and tomatillos.  If you haven't tried gazpacho (recipe on July 28, 2017 entry) there is still time.
         This summer we have been able to offer more variety and quantity of produce with the help of local conventional farmers.  Our neighbor, Sunnyslope Farm, has been generously bring us big, sweet, and juicy peaches and pluots.  We also have plums and Asian pears from Pleasant Hill Farm in Lincoln.

Here's what you'll find in the farm stand:
Otow Orchard:
Peaches: 49er, Fay Elberta,  clings
Plums:  Eldordo, Kelsey,
Pluots:  Dapple Dandy, Flavor King, Flavor Queen.
Figs
Frozen wild blackberries
Asian Pears: Hosui, New Century
Apples:  Gala
Grapes: Red Purlett
Vegetables:  tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatillos, okra, sweet and
          hot peppers, long beans, and eggplant.
Herbs:  Basil, Rosemary

Sunnyslope Farm:
Peaches:  Suncrest, Zee Lady, Elberta
Pluots:  Candy Stripe, Flavor Grenade

Pleasant Hill Farm:
Asian Pears
Plums:  Friar, and Casselman.

Also available:  Calendula Salve, Honey, Beeswax candles, eggs, Good Stuff Jams, and Firewood.

Friday, July 28, 2017

GAZPACHO


Every summer about this time of the year, my mother would surprise us with a big bowl of her fresh and fragrant gazpacho soup. At the farm we always had a supply of tomato seconds to use in some creative way.  My mother would cut out the bad parts and stew the tomatoes till they were soft and the juice came out.  Then she cooled and strained them and collected the juice.  She used this thin flavorful juice as a base for gazpacho.  At the orchard we now have a good supply of tomatoes, tomato seconds, tender crisp cucumbers, sweet peppers, fresh basil, oregano and heads of garlic.  For my batch of gazpacho I was lucky enough to still have a sweet red onion from Lisa Pilz at Hillcrest Orchard farmer's market stand. I sliced the onion and soaked it in cold water for five minutes to remove the heat.  It added a nice flavor to the mix.  I know there are many recipes for gazpacho but here is ours.

5  med.  tomatoes, peeled,seeded and chopped
3  med. cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
           (our Asian cucumbers are seedless)
2  sweet peppers seeded and chopped
1/2  cup sliced sweet red onions
1/8   cup minced parsley, or oregano
1/4   cup minced fresh basil
3    cups tomato juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3  Tblsp. red wine vinegar
2   cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1/2  tsp hot pepper sauce if desired

Prepare tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions as directed.  Mash the garlic with salt then stir into vegetables. Add remainder of the ingredients and mix together.  Refrigerate covered at least 2 hours or overnight.

Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve cold.

What is available in the farm stand:
Tomatoes:  Slicing, Heirloom, salad, Roma, cherry tomatoes and tomato seconds
Cucumbers:  Asian, lemon, Armenian
Other Veggies:  Okra, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, shallots, garlic, basil. and Rosemary
Peaches:  Yellow, white, and cling
Plums:  Laroda, Eldorado
Pluots:  Dapple Dandy, Flavorking
Apples:  Gala
Honey, Jams and salve
Sunnyslope Farm is bringing us yellow peaches:  Elegant Lady, Suncrest,  and pluots: Candy Stripe

Monday, July 17, 2017

FRESH PRODUCE FOR A HOT SUMMER

         It is the middle of summer.  It has been very hot and some of our produce are getting too much sun.  Many varieties of white and yellow freestone peaches and yellow and red fleshed plums are showing up at the farm stand along with cucumbers and tomatoes.
        The shell of our walk in refrigerator is up and we are using the cool room.  Through all this heat, Tosh continues to make progress on the remodel.  Yeah!  Much to the relief of our produce.


       Here is what is available at the farm stand.
Yellow Peaches:  Suncrest, Gene Elberta, Delight, Frost, and Loring
White Peaches:  Sugar Lady, Babcock, Nectar, and Silver Logan
Plums:   Frontier, Burgundy, Duarte, Laroda, Kelsey, Satsuma, Black Amber,
                and Tulare Prune
Pluots:  Dapple Dandy
Wild Blackberries
Vegetables:  Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, Asian Cucumbers,
               Lemon cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, Sweet peppers, Shishito
               peppers, Japanese eggplant, okra, long beans, green beans, basil,
               garlic, and shallots 
Also available:  Local honey, jam, salve, and firewood.
From Sunnyslope Farm:  Gene Elberta peaches, and Suncrest peaches

Monday, July 3, 2017

Farm Stand in July 2017

      July at Otow Orchard means peaches, plums,and wild blackberries.  Soon to arrive will be pluots, white peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, and eggplant.
      Due to all the rain this spring during blossom season, the stone fruit crop will be light.  Don't miss out.
       Wild blackberries are already coming into the fruit stand.  They may be seedy but they are full of flavor and juice.  They are usually available only in the month of July.
       Many customers are asking about tomatoes. There are many green tomatoes hanging on the vines.  They are slowly starting to ripen.  I am hoping to have a good supply by mid July.

Thank you for putting up with all the dust, noise and mess during our cool room remodel project.  Thank you for all the encouraging words.  We are not finished but were able to turn on the unit on Sunday.  It was a welcome change in temperature for the harvested fruit.



Currently available in the farm stand:
Peaches: yellow freestone Red Haven, Flavorcrest, Regina
Plums:  Santa Rosa, Satsuma, Frontier, Burgandy
Vegetables:  Summer squash, Asian cucumbers, long beans, peppers
                     Lovejoy Farm: onions, garlic
Sunnyslope Farm :  yellow freestone peaches
Otow Orchard honey
Good Stuff Jams
Eggs from pastured chickens
Calendula salve and lip balm

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Summer Fruits

Loquats on the Tree
The first peaches and plums are now at the fruit stand.  We have juicy red beaut plums and early yellow peaches.  We started picking zucchini and summer squash, too.

Here's what we have at the fruit stand now:
  • Peaches:  Spring Crest, May Crest, Sweet Crest
  • Plums:  Red Beaut
  • Loquats
  • Ume (Japanese plum)
  • Lemons:  Eureka
  • Oranges:  Valencia
  • Mulberries:  Pakistani and Persian
  • Honey
  • Free-Range Local Eggs
  • Jam from The Good Stuff

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tomato Plant Sale & Orchard Update

Chickens in one of the Gardens
In the orchard we have been testing and adjusting irrigation, hand thinning fruit from the peach and Asian pear trees and getting the gardens ready for planting.   Because of all the rain, the orchard is lush and green this year.  All the rain has been good for the trees, but it has meant a lot of mowing and weeding.

We have extra tomato plants that we grew by seed that are not needed in our gardens, so we're putting them for sale at the fruit stand.  The plants are grown in a mix of organic potting soil and our garden soil.  Varieties include Italian Roma, Mortgage Lifter, Pio Goliath, Red Brandywine, Hillbilly, Mandarin Cross, Pruden's Purple, Purple Cherokee, Berkeley Tie Dye, Bing Cherry and Sungold.

At the fruit stand we have:
  • Fruit--Lemons, Dried peaches and figs,
  • Vegetables--Mustard greens,Swiss chard, Peas
  • Fresh Herbs--Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Mint
  • Jam--From Good Stuff Jam,
  • Local free range chicken eggs
  • Tomato Plants


Search This Blog

Followers