Monday, September 11, 2017


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.

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


       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.

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
Good Stuff Jam
100% Beeswax candles

Coming soon: 2018 Master Gardener's Calendar

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


 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.
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


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


         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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

March and April at the Fruit Stand

During March and April we are shortening the Fruit Stand's Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday hours.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday hours will remain the same.  Mondays we are closed.

March and April Fruit Stand Hours:
Tues., Wed., and Thurs.--11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Fri. and Sat.--10:00 AM-6:00 PM
Sun.--10:00 AM-5:00 PM

If you'd like to stop by the fruit stand at another time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, please call us to arrange this.  We'll be at the orchard doing other orchard tasks and may be able to meet you.  We plan to be occupied planting trees, thinning fruit, fixing irrigation or working in the vegetable gardens during this time of year.

For sale at the fruit stand we now have Okusankichi Asian pears, navel oranges, yellow grapefruit, Eureka lemons, kiwi, hoshigaki strips, shelled walnuts, dehydrated peaches, jam from the Good Stuff and local free range chicken eggs. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Closing 2016 Hoshigaki Mail Orders

We are now closing hoshigaki mail orders for the 2016 season because our supply of hoshigaki is almost all sold out.  However, if you are able to visit our fruit stand, we still have limited amounts of hoshigaki for sale.

Look for the 2017 order form on our website this coming September. It's always best to get orders in as soon as possible, since the amount we are able to make each year fluctuates.  Making hoshigaki is very weather dependent.  The amount of fruit the trees produce varies as well as the weather conditions that help or hinder the drying process.

For sale now at our fruit stand we have ripe hachiya persimmons, softening maru (chocolate) persimmons, Satusuma mandarins, okusankichi Asian pears, kiwi, pecans, walnuts, The Good Stuff Jam and persimmon cookbooks.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hoshigaki Orders Open Again

We are again accepting new orders for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons).  If you would like to order hoshigaki through mail order, please send it in to us as soon as possible, since we know we have a very limited supply.

We will fill orders as soon as possible, but mail orders received after December 15th may not arrive in time for Christmas. If you're ordering hoshigaki as a Christmas gift, we recommend notifying the recipient of the order and letting them know that their gift should arrive soon.

Hoshigaki is also still for sale at our fruit stand in limited amounts. If you'd like to pick up more than a few pounds of hoshigaki at our fruit stand, please call us to reserve some.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hoshigaki Orders and Waiting List

Obaachan Massaging Persimmons
We are sorry to say that we can no longer take any new mail orders for this season's hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon).  Our supply was smaller this season and we need to be sure we can fill the orders we have already received. The last few years of drought made it difficult for our trees to produce as much fruit as they used to. We hope that this year's rain will improve the health of our trees so they can produce more persimmons next fall.  If you'd like to be on the waiting list to mail order hoshigaki (in the event that we do have any left after filling all our orders), please email us to let us know. 

At our fruit stand, we are still selling limited amounts of grade A hoshigaki.  Grade A is soft hoshigaki, but not quite as soft as the premium grade that we send through mail order.   If you'd like to order more than a few pounds of grade A hoshigaki to pick up at our fruit stand, please call us to reserve some. You can also call and ask to be on the waiting list for picking up premium grade hoshigaki at the fruit stand (if we do have a supply left after filling orders). 

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