Saturday, December 15, 2018

LAST CHANCE FOR FUYU

      With the colder weather, Fuyu persimmons are reacting.  Those we harvested after the rains and after it got cold are hopefully devoured by now. 

       We did harvest Fuyu for storage.  Most are still firm but not crunchy.  Come in soon if you want to take advantage of these final Fuyu for the season..  I predict we will continue to sell Fuyu for a couple weeks but know that they are getting more tender and of course sweeter.
       We still have other persimmons.  Maru  (brown fleshed), Vodka (Hyakume persimmons treated with vodka to sweeten them), and a few Hachiya.
          It is time now for mandarins.  These are sweet and easy to peel.  The ones from Pleasant Hill Farm are seedless.  We hope to harvest Otow Orchard mandarins in a couple weeks.
      If you are looking for gift ideas, consider items we have:  Master Gardener's 2019 calendar, Local Honey, Calendula  Salve and Lip Balm,  bagged Mandarins, and Good Stuff Jams

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
             Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Asian pears: Okusankichi
Apple:  Fuji, Granny Smith
Persimmons: Brown fleshed persimmons: Maru, and Hyakume
                      Fuyu persimmons (Always sweet, eat like an apple)
                      Hachiya persimmons (These must be soft to be sweet)
                      Vodka persimmons: treated with Vodka to assure sweetness
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons
Quince: Ancient fruit, high in pectin
Pomegranates: Red pomegranates
Walnuts: shelled
Pecans: in the shell
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Winter squash: Butternut, and Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Jams from The Good Stuff
Mandarins from Pleasant Hill Farm
Bagged Mandarins from Tudsbury Orchard
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm (When available)
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary
2019 Master Gardener Calendar

HOSHIGAKI UPDATE 12/15/2018

HOSHIGAKI UPDATE 12/15/2018  We are working on the Hoshigaki every day. It seems to be slow even though there is not much left.  We can't hurry it up any more. We are currently shipping out Mail order requests that were received before November 19, 2018.  If we run out we will let you know. Unfortunately we don't know how much more we will have until the process is finished on each individual piece of hoshigaki.  They are each so different.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Dec 6, 2018 MAIL ORDER UPDATE FROM TOSH

At this time we know we will run out of DK/ DG eventually.  If you have an order on file and wish to expedite your order, you may change your order to DKA or DKMN.  Otherwise, you will remain on the waiting  list until DK/DG is all sold out.  I don't think most folks out there realize that as farmers, this was a disastrous year. Without enough fruit, we had to purchase the hachiya to dry which added an additional $5-6 a pound for us to produce.  Even then, the amount we were able to produce was in short supply.  The drying conditions were different this year and we always have a shortage of labor and the list goes on and on.  So please excuse me if I seem like a grumpy old farmer.
Tosh

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

NOV 28, 2018 HOSHIGAKI UPDATE



Update:  Nov 28, 2018
The supply of our premium grade hoshigaki is limited and uncertain this season. We are not sure we can fill the  current backlog of orders for premium DK and DG.  Therefore we cannot offer mail order for our regular premium grade or gift box. At this time, we will take orders only for "Hoshigaki A"  and "Hoshigaki MN". Please see the item descriptions below.

Item Code
   DKA             1 pound in a clear bag.  Usually 6 to 12 pieces.  Soft, sweet       hoshigaki that is not as gushy as premium grade.  Produced and processed at Otow Orchard.

   DKMN          1 pound in a clear bag.  Usually 6 to 12 pieces.  Soft, sweet, tender and well sugared.  This hoshigaki began its drying process at a local farm and was brought to Otow Orchard for finishing.

         If you wish to order DKA or DKMN click here to get the order form.  If you have already sent us your order form and check, your order will be filled as product becomes available in the order received. We have begun to ship out orders starting with order number X 1.  I am hopeful that orders X6 to X40 will be tended to in the next week.  We are also contacting people at pick up orders at the farm stand in the order in which they were received.  If anyone wishes to substitute  DKA or DKMN for their current order of DK or DG  we can expedite your order.  Please contact us by email at otoworchard@yahoo.com or by phone (916) 791-1656.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

PERSIMMONS AND MANDARINS

     We are a bit surprised that mandarin production is quickly getting into full swing.  Farmers in Placer County are arranging for harvesters to come in to gather the crop in their mandarin orchard. Mandarins ripen more quickly in the foothills above us, so as we wait for our crop to arrive, we are getting them from other local growers. Hope you can come pick up a bag of sweet juicy mandarins.

ATTENTION HOSHIGAKI CUSTOMERS
     Hoshigaki, dried persimmons, are being more challenging this year.  With the warmer weather this fall and low humidity, our hoshigaki seems to have a different character.  Not to worry.  We are getting some quality hoshigaki from two local producers who have been making hoshigaki longer than Tosh and me.  It has been a joint effort. They started the drying and let us finish off their hoshigaki so it can resemble the soft textured hoshigaki our customer have grown to love. Because these farms are located in the foothills, their fruits are rich in flavor and sweetness.  We are asking all mail order customers to let us know if they would like to receive hoshigaki from these other producers if Otow Orchard hoshigaki is not available at the time they wish to receive their order.

       We still have plenty of Fuyu, apple type, persimmons.  My favorites are the fickle brown fleshed persimmons: Maru, Nagamaru, chocolate, and Hyakume.  When these are sweet they are intense.  It is even worth getting an astringent one once in awhile.  And if you really are afraid of getting an astringent brown fleshed persimmon, be sure to try the Vodka persimmon.  This is the Hyakume that has been treated with Vodka to sweeten it 100%.

      It is time for Granny Smith apples. These apple are unique because they resist browning when cut.  They are great for apple pie, apple crisp, and applesauce. Although known for their tang, our Grannys are sweet, and flavorful and need a little lemon juice when cooked.

      White pomegranates had a very short season. Red pomegranates are starting to show up in the farm stand now.


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
             Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Asian pears: Shinko, and Okusankichi
Apple:  Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady
Persimmons: Brown fleshed persimmons: Maru, Chocolate, and Hyakume
                      Fuyu persimmons (Always sweet, eat like an apple)
                      Hachiya and Gyombo persimmons (These must be soft
                            to be sweet)
                      Vodka persimmons: treated with Vodka to assure sweetness
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons
Quince: Ancient fruit, high in pectin
Pomegranates: Red pomegranates
Herbs:  rosemary, lemon balm
Walnuts: shelled and unshelled
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Winter squash: Butternut, and Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Apples from Sunnyslope Farm:  Granny Smith
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary
2019 Master Gardener Calendar



Saturday, October 27, 2018

HOSHIGAKI NEWS

As we get into the peeling and drying process for hoshigaki this year, we are shocked to realize that there is just not enough crop to fill our usual orders.  We are limiting purchase to 5 pounds of hoshigaki, smaller purchases will be appreciated. If you are willing to wait till January we will know if there is extra for sale.
        If you have a source of hachiya persimmons we are encouraging you to make your own.  Come by the farm for instruction, attend the workshop at JCI in Gardena, CA on Nov. 4, 2018, or email us to get guidance. Don't get discouraged, few artisans get a masterpiece the first time around.
        You can also look high and low for other sources of hoshigaki.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

DRY PERSIMMON TIME

     It is time to bring out the racks, get out the knife, peeler, and box of disposable gloves, line the bucket, and sort hachiya persimmons. Yep, it is the beginning of hoshigaki (dried persimmon) season. Last week we started peeling and hanging up hachiya persimmons for this year's crop of hoshigaki. We are doing this cautiously as the weather is still warm.  Very soon we will be busy squeezing and massaging those that are getting soft to break up the pulp inside the persimmon that is ripening. We will continue to "baby sit" them for another 4 weeks till the sugar magically appears on the surface.
       We are now taking orders for this season's hoshigaki. The crop is light and the work force is getting tired so the production may be smaller than usual.  For these reasons we will be limiting people to a maximum 5 pound order. We are urging people to get their orders in soon since late orders may not be filled if we run out of product.
       If you are picking up your order at the farm please call (916) 791-1656 or email: otoworchard@yahoo.com to reserve hoshigaki.
       If you are making a hoshigaki order by mail please use our mail order form.

       We are beginning to see a variety of persimmons in the farm stand.  Coffee Cake looks like a flat Fuyu but is brown fleshed and sweet when properly pollinated.  Maru is a small round brown fleshed persimmon which is very sweet when properly pollinated.  Nagamaru, also called Chocolate and Tsurunoko, is like a tall Maru. It is also brown fleshed and sweet when properly pollinated.
      We have Hachiya and Gyombo persimmons which are not sweet until very soft. We have a good supply of the very popular Fuyu type persimmon which is eaten hard like an apple.

      There is a beautiful collection of winter squash:  Butternut, Red Kuri, Kabocha, and Black Futsu. These make delicious side dishes for your fall meal.

      Now that that summer vegetables are waning, winter vegetables are making a debut with the help of BarleyOats Farm.  BarleyOats  is located behind our old packing shed and uses organic practices to grow vegetables.  You can order online at barleyoats.farm or just come by our farm stand to see what is available. 


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
             Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Asian pears: Shinko, and Olympic
European Pears:  Comice, D'anjou
Apple:  Reinette Simerenko (Russian green apple), Fuji
Persimmons: Limited supply of brown fleshed persimmons:
                               Coffee Cake Persimmon (Nishimura Wase)
                               Maru
                               Chocolate (Tsurunoko) (Nagamaru)
Fuyu persimmons (Always sweet, eat like an apple)
Hachiya persimmons (These must be soft in order to be sweet.)
Quince: Ancient fruit, high in pectin
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, lemon balm
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables:  okra,  Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes,
         and Tomatillos
Winter squash:  Red Kuri, Butternut, Black Futsu, and Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Apples from Sunnyslope Farm:  Fuji
European pears:  Bosc
Chestnuts from Sunnyslope Farm
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions from BarleyOats Farm
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm
Honey with honey comb from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Comb honey from Top O'The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary
2019 Master Gardener Calendar

Saturday, September 29, 2018

OCTOBER PRODUCE

       Tosh and I have returned from our two week vacation.
As we begin October, the farm stand is gradually leaving
 summer fruits and vegetables behind. Sad to say, but gone are the peaches till May 2019.  We have a few figs, grapes, cucumbers, and squash.  We still have some plums, Bartlett pears, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, okra, and eggplant.  This time of year offers several  varieties of Asian pears, D'anjou pears, brown fleshed persimmons, quince, jujube, Casselman plums, and apples.  We have a wonderful collection of winter squashes:  Delicata, Butternut, Red Kuri and Kabocha.
      Our newest item is Chestnuts.  I know it is not the holidays yet but if you love fresh chestnuts, we have a few from Sunnyslope Farm.

ANNOUNCEMENT:
November 4, 2018, the first Sunday in November, we are doing a hands on hoshigaki workshop at the JCI in Gardena, CA.  If you are interested, please check out their web site:  jci-gardena.org


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
             Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Plums:  Casselman,
Asian pears: 20th Century (Nijuseki), New Century (Shinseki), Shinko, and Yoi
Apple:  Reinette Simerenko (Russian green apple), Fuji
Figs:  Brown Turkey, Green, and Black Mission
Persimmons: Limited supply of brown fleshed persimmons:
                               Coffee Cake Persimmon (Nishimura Wase)
                               Maru
                               Chocolate (Tsurunoko) (Nagamaru)
Hoshigaki (dried persimmons) No longer available though Mail Order.
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, mint, lemon balm
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow squash, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers,
         okra,  Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes,
         Tomatillos, and Long beans
Winter squash:  Delicata, Red Kuri, Butternut, Black Futsu, and Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Chestnuts from Sunnyslope Farm
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions and Potatoes from BarleyOats Farm
Comb honey from Top O'The Hill Apiary
2019 Master Gardener Calendar

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GOOD FOOD

        We put our hands together for our Saturday night dinner gathering.  Along with the main course we added 3 side dishes inspired by the orchard.
         The Burrata Caprese salad included tomato and basil from our gardens.  Tomatoes are slowing down in the garden and the sizes are getting smaller but the flavor and texture are still mouth-watering.
         We sliced zucchini with onions, Parmesan cheese, and butter to make a microwave casserole.
          Winter squash also made it to the table.  We cut the delicata squash in half to maintain the tube shape, microwaved 1 minute.  Then we sliced it into circles and
removed the seeds. We brushed both sides with olive oil and maple syrup, placed them on parchment paper and seasoned with salt and pepper.  We baked them at 375 degrees for 15 minutes on each side.
        Pushed to the back of the refrigerator was a fourth dish I forgot to serve:  Overnight Cucumber Pickles (recipe available in our farm stand).

Beginning September 1, we changed our Sunday hours to 11 AM to 5PM.  It has been challenging to get the farm stand set up after church in time for early customers.  Hours for Tuesday through Saturday will remain the same, 10 to 6.

REMINDER
      Since we will be on vacation in September there is no one to tend the farm stand on September 14th and 23rd. The farm stand will be CLOSED, Sunday, September 14 and Sunday, September 23.  Please avoid these days.




   
      A few peaches will be coming in during the next couple weeks but their season for 2018 is about over.  Casselman plums with their sweet-tart crisp texture are plentiful for the time being. They will "wow" your mouth.  Asian pears, European pears, and apples are coming into season. We might see jujube very soon.

          We seem to be getting more and more small tomatoes.  The big ones are few and far between. They are small in size but are still big on flavor. The Asian cucumbers are not as long or straight as in the middle of summer but they are still very enjoyable.
   


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
               Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Plums:  Casselman, Eldorado, Laroda, Red Roy, Kelsey, Elephant Heart,
Pluots:  Dapple Dandy, Flavor Queen
Asian pears:  Kosui, Hosui, 20th Century (Nijuseki), New Century (Shinseki), Yoi
Apple:  Gala, Red Delicious
Figs:  Brown Turkey, Green, and Black Mission
Hoshigaki (dried persimmons) No longer available though Mail Order.
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, mint, lemon balm
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow squash, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Okra, Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Long beans, Winter squash:  Delicata, Red Kuri, Butternut & Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Yellow peaches from Sunnyslope Farm:   O'Henry, Tra Zee
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions and Potatoes from BarleyOats Farm
Coming soon: Blackberry honey and Comb honey from Top O'The Hill Apiary

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

NEW HOURS


       Beginning September 1, we will be changing our Sunday hours to 11 AM to 5PM.  It has been challenging to get the farm stand set up after church in time for early customers.  Hours for Tuesday through Saturday will remain the same, 10 to 6.

ANNOUNCEMENT
      Since we will be on vacation in September there is no one to tend the farm stand on September 14th and 23rd. The farm stand will be CLOSED, Sunday, September 14 and Sunday, September 23.  Please avoid these days.

      Although not plentiful, peaches have had quite a long run this year.  We are currently harvesting a small crop of Rio Oso Gem and O'Henry.  On the horizon are Late Alamar, Fairtime and Summerset. And "That's all folks " till the 2019 season. Sunnyslope Farm will continue to bring us peaches as they have available.

        We seem to be getting more and more small tomatoes.  The big ones are few and far between. They are small in size but are still big on flavor. The Asian cucumbers are not as long or straight as in the middle of summer but they are still very enjoyable.
       We have had a good run of grapes this year. But that too
is coming to a end. Probably just another week or two before the vines are empty.

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.

 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
               Sun:            11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Yellow Freestone Peaches:  Fay Elberta, Rio Oso Gem, O'Henry
Cling Peaches:  Bowen, Philip
Plums:  Eldorado, Laroda, Red Roy, Kelsey, Empress, Elephant Heart,
Grapes:  Kyoho, Thompson Seedless, Red Purlett
Asian pears:  Kosui, Hosui, 20th Century (Nijuseki), New Century (Shinseki)
Apple:  Gala
Figs:  Brown Turkey, Green, and Black Mission
Hoshigaki (dried persimmons) No longer available though Mail Order.
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, mint
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow squash, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Okra, Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Long beans, Winter squash:  Delicata, Red Kuri, & Kabocha.

This is what we have from other producers:
Yellow peaches from Sunnyslope Farm:   Elberta, O'Henry
Apples from Sunnyslope Farm:  Gala
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions and Potatoes from BarleyOats Farm


Thursday, August 9, 2018

MERGING SEASONS


Is it still summer?  Well, yes.  The farm stand is selling peaches, plums, pluots, and tomatoes.  Is it fall?  Well...yes.  The farm stand is selling Asian pears, apples, grapes, and the second crop of figs.

We still have a good supply of plums and are still harvesting our small supply of peaches.  A big thank you to Sunnyslope Farm for bringing their peaches to the our farm stand this summer.  Without Sunnyslope Farm, the peach sales would have been almost non-existent.

If you have never tasted a green plum, please ask for a sample.  The Kelsey plum is wonderfully sweet.

Amazingly, Veronica is still harvesting wild blackberries. This harvest usually does not extend into August as it is doing this year.
 
Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to January Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
Sun:            10 am to 5 pm
Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Yellow Freestone Peaches:  49er, Gene Elberta, Fay Elberta
Cling Peaches:  Bowen
Plums:  Santa Rosa, Frontier, Burgundy, Eldorado, Laroda, Red Roy, Kelsey, Late Santa Rosa
Wild Blackberries

Grapes:  Kyoho, Thompson Seedless
Asian pears:  Kosui, Hosui
Apple:  Gala
Figs:  Brown Turkey, Green, and Black Mission
Hoshigaki (dried persimmons) No longer available though Mail Order.
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, mint
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow squash, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Okra, Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes, Sungold cherry tomatoes, Tomatillos, Long beans


This is what we have from other producers:

Yellow peaches from Sunnyslope Farm:  Elegant Lady, Zee Lady, Elberta

Apples from Sunnyslope Farm:  Gala
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions and Potatoes from BarleyOats Farm







Saturday, July 28, 2018

DIRT TOMATOES

"Do you have dirt tomatoes?" the customer asked.
"What do you mean?" I responded.
"Dirt, you know, are the tomatoes grown in the ground as opposed to hydroponically."
"Now a days, that's a very good question" I said.  "Yes, all our tomatoes are grown in the ground, under the sun, in actual dirt." We have no hothouse, greenhouse or hoop house.  We use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides on our tomatoes.  You might say we have "Old fashion" tomatoes. They seem to be enjoying this hot weather more than we are.  They have just the right texture and mouth watering taste. They are firm and juicy.  Now is the time for tomato sandwiches, BLT, and gazpacho. You can find my mother's gazpacho recipe on last years post of 7/28/2017.
       Finally, if not for a short time, there are peaches in the farm stand. We are harvesting yellow peaches including Fay Elberta. However, the bounty of years past seems to be lacking. To add to our supply of peaches, Sunnyslope Farm is bringing us big beautiful and juicy yellow peaches.
      We continue to have several plum varieties and Asian pears are starting to show up. We still have wild blackberries which normally disappear by the beginning of August.

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to January Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
Sun:            10 am to 5 pm
Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Yellow Freestone Peaches:  Suncrest, 49er, Gene Elberta, Fay Elberta
Cling Peaches:  Bowen
Plums:  Santa Rosa, Frontier, Satsuma, Burgundy, Eldorado, Laroda, Red Ace,
             Red Roy, Kelsey, Late Santa Rosa
Wild Blackberries
Hoshigaki (dried persimmons) No longer available though Mail Order.
Herbs:  basil, rosemary, mint
Calendula Salve
Honey from Otow Orchard
Vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow squash, Asian cucumbers, Lemon cucumbers, Okra, Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Tomatoes, Sungold cherry tomatoes, Tomatillos

This is what we have from other producers:

Yellow peaches from Sunnyslope Farm:  Suncrest, Elegant Lady, Zee Lady
Jams from The Good Stuff
Onions and Potatoes from BarleyOats Farm
Eggs from Two Feather Farm

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