Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fruit Stand Update

Here's what we have at the fruit stand now:

Peaches--Fay Elberta, O'Henry
Plums--Casselman, Kelsey, Elephant Heart, Eldorado, Friar
Figs--Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota
Grapes--Thompson Seedless
Asian Pear--Hosui, Kosui, 20th Century

Tomatoes--Red tomatoes, heirloom, salad size, cherry, tomatillos

Vegetables--Zucchini, summer squash, cucumber,  eggplant,  sweet and hot peppers, okra

Herbs--Basil, oregano
Eggs--Local free-range chicken eggs, duck eggs to order
Bee products--honey, propolis, beeswax candles  (from bees at our orchard)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

White Peaches and Vegetables

We now have white peaches at the fruit stand, and more vegetables as well.  Yellow peaches picked from the orchard are now the more flavorful mid-season varieties like Regina, Flavorcrest and Red Haven.  We also have red-fleshed plums like Satsuma and Frontier.

Here's what's at the fruit stand now:

  • Peaches--Yellow varieties (Flavor Crest, Regina, Red Haven, June Pride), white varieties (Sugar Lady, Nectar)
  • Apricots--Blenheim, Patterson
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Frontier, Satsuma, Beauty 
  • Pluots--Flavor Supreme
  • Citrus Fruit--Pink Grapefruit, Valencia Oranges
  • Vegetables--Zucchini and Summer Squash, green and yellow beans, Japanese eggplant, shishito peppers
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Balm
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard, propolis also available
  • Eggs--from local free range chickens (and ducks)
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lots of Fruit at the Fruit Stand

We now have lot of different kinds of fruit at the fruit stand.  Here's what we have:

  • Peaches--Flavor Crest, June Crest, Regina, Bon Jour
  • Apricots--Blenheim, Patterson
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Red Beaut
  • Citrus Fruit--Pink Grapefruit, Valencia Oranges, Eureka Lemons
  • Vegetables--Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Balm
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard
  • Eggs--from local free range chickens (and ducks)
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax
If you're looking for plums for making jam, we have lots of hail-marked Santa Rosas that we're selling at a discount.  Call and let us know if  you'd like some set aside to pick up at the fruit stand.

Since the weather is warmer now hoshigaki mail orders have stopped until sometime in September.  We'll announce on the website when we begin again and post a new mail order form.

The fruit stand is open regular hours again.  We're open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00, Sunday from 10:00-5:00 and closed on Monday. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Drip in the orchard (photo by Thomas Polchies)
Today was the first day we turned on the orchard irrigation system. We had put it off until as late as possible in an effort to save water.  In some areas of the orchard we reconfigured the irrigation by draping the mainline tubing through the lower branches of the trees and changing the micro sprinklers to the type of drip emitter in the photo.  In most areas we have the mainline tubing running on the ground along the rows of trees with one circular micro sprinkler placed between the trees. Last year we also changed some areas of the orchard's irrigation to two arc-shaped micro sprinklers between the trees that emitted less water together than one circular emitter.   We plan to monitor the differences in the trees' growth to try to figure out what works best. Last year we used almost 20% less water than the year before and we hope this year we are able to use even less water than last year.  

We started planting the vegetable gardens slowly over the past few weeks.  Now that we no longer have to carry water to the gardens and the weather is warmer we can plant the tomato, pepper and eggplant plant starts that we started from seed in February and March. At the fruit stand we now have yellow grapefruit, pink grapefruit, lemons, hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons), locally made jam and eggs from local chickens.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March and April Hours

 It has been a dry winter and we are already moving into spring.
 Our fruit stand hours for March and April are:
         Tu, Wed, Th  11:30 to 1:30  pm
         Fri, Sat, Sun   10:00 to 6:00 pm
                Closed on Mondays
We will return to our regular hours on May 1st.
 At the fruit stand we are now selling: navel oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, hoshigaki, dehydrated fruit, beeswax candles, and jam  .
We planted peach, plum, jujube, ume, mulberry, persimmon, apple, and cherry trees.  It will be at least three years before they come into production.  The pruning is almost finished and we are working on tweaking our irrigation in hopes of  reducing our water use. 

The orchard is in bloom.  This is a great time to see the pink and white blossoms. By the end of March the blossoms will be replaced by tiny immature fruit vulnerable to freezing temperatures and hail storms. We just have to wait to see what summer brings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hoshigaki, Fuyu and Mandarin

Persimmon season is in full swing right now.  The fruit stand is full of fresh persimmons and all the drying racks are filled with sticks of persimmons in the process of drying.  We've been spending lots of time massaging the drying persimmons and deciding which ones are dry enough and ready to take off the racks.  In the packing room we have been packaging finished hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) to sell at the fruit stand and for mail orders.

We're still peeling persimmons to start new hoshigaki because the persimmons are still hard enough to peel.  Sometime in the next few weeks  we'll need to stop peeling because the persimmons will either be mostly too ripe to dry well or the weather will be too cool or damp for them to dry well. Right now we're still taking orders for pick up at the fruit stand or mail order. If you'd like to pick up more than a pound of hoshigaki at out fruit stand, it's a good idea to call ahead If you live within driving distance picking up an order at the fruit stand may be worthwhile economically.

At the fruit stand we have lots of hard fuyu persimmons still.  We have fuyus for sale by the pound or by the bag.  Fuyus are sweet and ready to eat when they're hard.  We also have hachiya and gyombo persimmons,  which must be very soft to be sweet.  Other persimmons we have are maru (or chocolate persimmon) and hyakume (or cinnamon persimmon).  Maru and hyakume are pollination variant type persimmons, which means they're sweet and ready to eat hard if they're pollinated.  We also have vodka-treated hyakume, which is always sweet and ready to eat when hard, because of the vodka treatment.  We also have owari satsuma mandarins, Granny Smith apples, red pomegranate, kabocha winter squash, honey from bees at the orchard, and two different persimmon cookbooks for sale at the fruit stand. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hoshigaki and Hachiya persimmons

Hachiya persimmons by the wind machine
We've been busy peeling hachiyas to dry for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) since last week.  Each hachiya persimmon is peeled by hand and then a string is looped around its stem.  The peeled hachiyas  hang in pairs on specially made sticks that fit into our hoshigaki drying racks.  They start drying outside in the sun and wind, then later on we move them to one of the inside drying rooms.

Hachiyas are a variety of persimmon that is astringent when eaten hard.  To eat a hachiya fresh, you need to wait until it's soft like jello with translucent skin.  If you like soft and sweet fruit this texture, you can just eat the hachiya with a spoon fresh.  Soft hachiyas are also the type of persimmon used in making persimmon bread and cookies.  The pulp is added to baked goods in the same way you would use soft bananas in banana bread.

The hard hachiyas we peel to make hoshigaki are astringent at first, but as the peeled fruits dry they ripen and sweeten.  Moisture from the inside comes to the surface and leaves a dusting of white fructose.  The end result is a whole dried fruit with the texture of a date inside and a coating of its own powdered sugar on the outside.   

We are still taking mail orders for hoshigaki.  You can also contact us and arrange to pick up your order at the fruit stand if you live within driving distance. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Patch & Persimmon Time

Now at the fruit stand we have many kinds of persimmons for sale.  There are lots of soft or softening hachiya and also maru, fuyu and vodka-treated hyakume.  We've been busy peeling persimmons to dry for hoshigaki since the beginning of this week. 

There was a good article recently about the orchard in the Sacramento Bee.  In it there's a description of the different varieties of persimmons we grow and information about the history of the farm.  A link to the article is here.

The pumpkin patch is open at the orchard now. If you come to the fruit stand, stop by and let us know if you want to go out and pick a pumpkin and we'll direct you out there. 

Here's what's at the fruit stand now: 

  • Persimmons--Fuyu, Maru (chocolate), Nagamaru, Hachiya (soft and hard), Coffee Cake, Vodka-treated Hyakume
  • Hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon)--whole and strips
  • Asian pears--Okusankichi
  • Apples--Granny Smith, Fuji
  • Pomegranate--White and Red varieties
  • Quince
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetables--Tomatillos, shishito peppers, jalapeños, garlic
  • Winter squash--Butternut, Kabocha
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--honey, propolis, bee pollen, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs
  • Perfectly Persimmon Cookbook--1004 persimmon recipes by Jean Brine
  •  The California Persimmon--a persimmon cookbook published by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Placer and Nevada Counties. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014 Hoshigaki Mail Order Form

The new 2014 Mail Order Form is now posted here on the website, under the "Hoshigaki/Persimmons" tab.  If you'd like to mail order hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon) this year, please print out the order form and mail it back to us with your check.

In the photo you can see finished hoshigaki being held in front of a rack of still drying persimmons.  We started peeling the first hachiya persimmons for hoshigaki at the very end of September. The hachiyas need to be fully orange, but still hard to be able to peel in order to start the drying process.  After peeling, each fruit takes around six weeks to dry, depending on the weather.  The peeled fruits are hung by their stems in pairs and massaged every few days to help them to dry evenly.  By the end of the drying process, each persimmon has developed a dusting of natural powdered sugar on its surface, and is soft and sweet.

Because of these natural processes and weather variables, orders may take 8 to 10 weeks to ship.  It's important to get your order in as soon as possible, because supplies are limited to what we can produce while the weather permits.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

White Pomegranates, Jujube & Early Persimmons

All are pollination varient varieties We now have a lot of fall fruit at the fruit stand. In the orchard a lot of fruits seem to be ripening early this year, including persimmons.  We actually have some of all the varieties of persimmons picked already, even fuyu.  The first few sticks of peeled hachiyas have started drying for hoshigaki, too. 

White pomegranates are also at the fruit stand.  The outside of white pomegranates are creamy yellow (sometimes with a pink blush) and the arils inside are pink, sweet and softer than those of red pomegranate varieties.  Jujube is still being harvested too, so we have both more firm yellow to brown jujube and wrinkling brown jujube. 

Nights and mornings have been cooler and feel more like fall, though it's still been in the 80's during the day. Fortunately, the smoky air from the King forest fire cleared last week.

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now:

  • Asian pears--Shinko, Olympic
  • Persimmons--Maru (chocolate), Nagamaru, Coffee Cake, Fuyu, Hachiya, Vodka-treated Hyakume
  • European pears--D'Anjou 
  • Apples--Granny Smith, Reinette Simirenko, Fuji, Pippin
  • Plums--Casselman
  • Pomegranate--White and Red varieties
  • Quince
  • Jujube
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetables--Tomatillos, red and green Jalapeños, Scotch Bonnet chiles, Shishito peppers
  • Winter squash--Butternut, Kabocha
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary
  • Hoshigaki--strips and whole
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--honey, propolis, bee pollen, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Late Summer, Early Fall

Although it's still hot, it seems like we are transitioning into the early fall now.  At the fruit stand we have late-season peaches, Casselman plums, Asian pears and the beginning of the first  varieties of persimmons.  We also have quince, jujube and the last black mission figs.  For vegetables we still have a lot of various kinds of tomatoes, butternut squash, basil and other herbs.  Free range local eggs, honey from bees at our orchard and jam are available, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fay Elberta peaches & First Asian Pears

At the fruit stand we now have Fay Elberta peaches and some of the first early varieties of Asian pears. There are now lots of tomatoes in various sizes coming in from the gardens, too. 

Here's what's at the fruit stand now: 

  • Peaches--49'er, Fay Elberta (yellow freestone varieties); Bowen (yellow cling);  Elegant Lady, Babcock, Silver Logan (white freestone varieties)  
  • Plums--Kelsey, Elephant Heart, Mariposa, Santa Rosa, Black Amber, Friar, Laroda, Eldorado, Burgandy, Frontier
  • Pluots--Dapple Dandy, Flavor Queen, Flavor King
  • Vegetables--Tomatoes (regular, cherry, salad, heirlooms), Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumber, Beans, Shallots
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Basil (cut if you ask)  
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard, propolis and bee pollen
  • Free Range Chicken eggs
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax

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