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). 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mandarins and Hoshigaki Orders

We now have Satsuma mandarins for sale at our fruit stand.  Satsuma Mandarins are sweet, juicy, easy to peel and usually seedless.  Last week we stopped peeling persimmons for drying to make hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon).  We picked all of the hachiyas suitable for peeling, so what we have in the drying process now will constitute the rest of this year's supply.

If you'd like to order hoshigaki, please order as soon as you can because it looks like this year the supply will be limited.  You can order hoshigaki either through mail order or by calling to reserve hoshigaki to pick up at the fruit stand.

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

  • Persimmons--Fuyu, Hachiya (soft), Maru (chocolate), Vodka-treated Hyakume, Hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons)
  • Mandarins--Owari Satsuma variety
  • Asian pears--Okusankichi
  • Apples--Fuji, Granny Smith
  • Pomegranate-- White variety with sweet pink arils
  • Walnuts and Pecans
  • Winter squash--Butternut
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--raw honey, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs
  • Placer County Master Gardeners Calendars 
  • Perfectly Persimmon Cookbook by Jean Brine

Monday, October 31, 2016

Rainy Weather

The recent rains are good for the orchard, but difficult for drying hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons).  We've still been trying to dry as many persimmons as possible lately though, despite the rainy weather. The dampness has slowed the drying process and all the inside rooms are full of racks of peeled persimmons.  We hope to get more of the hoshigaki out in the sun during this week. 

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

Some of the first of this season's hoshigaki has finished so we have limited quantities for sale at our fruit stand. If you'd like to pick up more than a pound of hoshigaki at our fruit stand (when we have more available) 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.

There are lots of crisp fuyu persimmons at the fruit stand 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.

Also at the fruit stand we have Granny Smith, Fuji, Reinette Simerenko and Pippen apples, white and red varieties of pomegranate, Shinko and Olympic Asian pears, walnuts, eggs, Good Stuff Jam, and two different persimmon cookbooks for sale. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

More Fuyu

Fuyu Persimmons
We harvested a lot more fuyu persimmons from the orchard this week.  Now we have bags of fuyus available at the fruit stand.  Fuyu are the variety of persimmons that are sweet when hard like an apple, you don't need to wait for them to become soft to eat them. 

The fruit stand also has hachiya persimmons that are soft and ripe.  Hachiyas are a variety  of persimmon that must be the texture of jello to eat fresh, then they are one of the sweetest varieties.  A hard, unripe hachiya has tannic acid will dry out your mouth. You can also still make orders to pick up hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) at our fruit stand, or order hoshigaki through mail order

Recently, the website Cropmobster (Sacramento County Region) posted a resource alert about our orchard.  This website works as an online community exchange platform and social alert service for broadcasting food and agricultural needs and offers.  Cropmobster also posted an alert about reducing persimmon waste called, "Honor the Persimmon!  Let's Save & Share Them This Season".  There are useful resources about persimmons at the end of the post, too. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 Mail Order Form--Hoshigaki Season Begins

This season's 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) through mail, 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.  You're also welcome to walk out in the orchard and take a tour on your own, 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, October 1, 2016

Persimmons, Asian Pears and Apples

Okusankichi Asian Pear and the Old Tractor
We have a  lot of different fall fruits in season now.  We have harvested multiple varieties of Asian pear and apples as well as persimmons. Some fuyu persimmons have been picked, but not a major quantity yet.  Many of the hachiya persimmons on the trees are close to getting enough color to be peeled, so we expect to start drying persimmons for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) within the next week. 

We are accepting mail orders for this season's hoshigaki, but the 2016 mail order form is not yet up on our website.  We expect to have it posted here soon. 

Here's a list of what's available at the fruit stand:
  • Asian pears--Shinko, Yoi
  • Persimmons--Fuyu, Hachiya (soft), Maru (chocolate), Nagamaru (chocolate)
  • European pears--D'Anjou, Comice
  • Apples--Granny Smith, Reinette Simirenko, Fuji, Pippin
  • Plums--Casselman
  • Pomegranate-- White variety with sweet pink arils
  • Quince
  • Jujube
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetables--Tomatillos, Shishito peppers, Sweet Peppers, Jalape├▒os, Fish Peppers, eggplant
  • Winter squash--Kabocha, Black Futsu
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--raw honey, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs
  • Placer County Master Gardeners Calendars

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Missing from this picture are peaches, pluots, apricots and tomatoes.  Peaches and tomatoes are slowing down.  Pluots and apricots have disappeared till next season. Bartlet pears and several varieties of Asian pears and apples are in the farm stand now.
Jujube are an ancient fruit eaten in many parts of the world for its health benefits.  Often referred to as Chinese Dates, or Red Dates, or Natsume.  They can be eaten yellow and crisp, brown and sweet or dried and added to clear soup.  Li jujube are mildly sweet and crisp.  They remind me of a dry, sweet, crisp apple.  If you have never tried one, please ask for a sample when you are in the farm stand.

Surprisingly we are also harvesting the first persimmons of the season.  Nagamaru (Chocolate) and Nishimura Wase (Coffee Cake) are both sweet and brown fleshed.  They can be eaten firm and crisp or more mature, softer and sweeter.

In the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Peaches:  Late Alamar
Plums:  Casselman,  Elephant Heart
Asian Pears:  Yoi, Shinko, Yali,
European Pears:  Comice
Jujube:  Li
Pomegranate:  White
Persimmons:  Nagamaru (Chocolate), Nishimura Wase (Coffee Cake), a few Hachiya (soft)
Grapes:  Thompson Seedless, Kyoho
Vegetables:  Eggplant, cucumbers, okra, peppers, tomatillos, chili peppers, sweet peppers
Apples:  Red Delicious

In the farm stand from Pleasant Hill Farm:
Asian Pear:  Niitaka, Shinko

Other items:  Honey, Salve, Lip Balm, Good Stuff Jam, Eggs

See you at the farm stand.

Friday, August 19, 2016


      It may be the middle of August but the trees are transitioning into fall.  Asian Pears are starting to fill the farm stand.  We have two yellow varieties: 20th Century (Nijyuseiki) and New Century (Shinseiki).  The brown varieties are:  Hosui, Yoi, and Shinko.  All are crisp, juicy and sweet.  They vary in flavor and tenderness.  Refrigerate these for a refreshing treat.
     We will be harvesting the last 2 varieties of peaches in the next two weeks.  Supply will be limited so it might be best to call ahead.  Our peach season was a bit disappointing.  Not as juicy and flavorful as previous years.  Some were bitter, some were mushy.  As we reflect on our years of experience, we have to conclude that growing peaches is a challenge.  The farming practices, the weather, the irrigation water, the ground water, the nutrients, etc. all have an influence on the result.  As farmers, after the harvest is in and winter then spring arrive,  there is always hope for a great peach season the next time.
     We are harvesting our last variety of plums.  Casselman are flavorful, juicy and sweet with a little tang.  They still represent the taste of summer.
     We have increased our water use but trees are just asking for more.  The ground doesn't seem to retain much moisture and our excess water drainage system has never been drier.    The old swamp is dry and the surrounding eucalyptus trees are shedding limbs.  We are looking forward to cooler weather and moisture from the sky.

     Currently in the farm stand:
Peaches: limited supply of Late Alamer, Summerset, and Fairtime
Plums:  Kelsey, Casselman, Elephant Heart, Friar
Grapes:  Limited supply of Kyoho and Thompson Seedless
Figs:  Brown Turkey, black Mission, and Green
Citrus:  Valencia oranges
Asian Pears:  20th century, New Century, Hosui, Yoi, and Shinko
European Pears:  Bartlet
Vegetables:  Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, Asian cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, long beans, eggplant, tomatillos, hot and sweet peppers, basil, and okra.
Sunnyslope Farm is bringing us yellow freestone peaches
Pleasant Hill Farm is bringing us Friar plums and Hosui and Niitaka Asian pears
Other Items:  Good Stuff Jams, Honey, salve, eggs, hoshigaki strips and grade B hoshigaki

Orders for Sierra Foothill Producer Coop is due Sept 8th with delivery Sept 16.  Check out Meat Deliveries at the web site:  sinclairfamily  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Tomato season has finally arrived.  Many of you have been waiting for vine ripened, juicy tomatoes for your BLTs.  We have many types of tomatoes:  slicing, heirloom, paste, salad, and cherry.
Along with tomatoes the farm stand is full of juicy, sweet peaches, plums and pluots. Now is the time for canning or freezing this year's harvest to enjoy the rest of the year.
Currently in the farm stand we are selling:
Peaches:  Fay Elberta, 49er, Rio Oso Gem, and O'Henry
Plums:  Laroda, Friar, Eldorado, Kelsey, and Red Roy
Pluots:  Flavor King, Flavor Queen, and Dapple Dandy
Citrus: Valencia oranges
Asian Pears :  20th Century, and Hosui
Herbs:  Basil, rosemary, red shiso, mint, catnip, and lemon balm
Grapes: red
Vegetables: Tomatoes, Asian cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, summer squash, tomatillos, eggplant, and peppers
Other items:  honey, Good Stuff Jam, Calendula Salve, Hoshigaki

From other producers:
Sunnyslope Farm:  Elberta peaches, Candy Stripe pluots
Pleasant Hill Farm:  Friar plums, Cassie plums, Dapple Dandy pluots

See you at the farm stand.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Its time for Friar Plum Pie.  This easy to make pie is in season.  Find Friar plums and the recipe at our farm stand.
The Fay Elberta peach season has started, soon to be followed by O'Henry and Rio Oso Gem peaches.  We also have several varieties of plums and pluots. We still have wild blackberries for another week or so but this heat spell may contribute to the end of their season.
In the garden we are starting to get tomatoes.The gardens are also producing cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, squash, peppers and eggplant.

At the Farm Stand we are selling:
Peaches:  Gene Elberta, Fay Elberta, 49er
Cling Peach:  Bowen
Plums:  Santa Rosa, Friar, Eldorado, Kelsey, Laroda
Pluots: Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Dapple Dandy
Berries:  Wild Blackberries
Nectarines: Fantasia
Vegetables:  Summer squash, Lemon cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos
Other items: Hoshigaki strips, Calendula Suave, Good Stuff Jam, local honey

From other local farms:
Sunnyslope Farm:  Suncrest peaches, Candy Stripe pluots,
Pleasant Hill Farm:  Friar plums, Dapple Dandy pluot
Lovejoy Farm:  Sweet onions, eggs

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


We have a few Red Haven peaches left then it's onto mid summer peach varieties.  These yellow and white freestone peaches are the gems of the summer.  We will be starting to harvest Gene Elberta, Suncrest, and Delight yellow peaches.  We are harvesting Nectar, Silver Logan and Sugar Lady white peaches.

Our peaches are delicious, yet they lack the blemish free look of those you see in the store.  It is the dilemma of not spraying for diseases and pests.  Our fruit is also on the small side due to our dependence on nutrition in the soil and not added chemical fertilizers which would stimulate growth.  Our crops escaped hail, frost, and intense wind damage so we have a good crop and are able to sustain our goal of donating fresh produce to the food bank twice a week.  Thank you to all our customers for being part of a bigger picture.

At the farm stand we are selling:
Yellow peaches:  Red Haven , Gene Elberta, Delight, and Suncrest
White peches:  Nectar, Sugar Lady, and Silver Logan
Plums:  Santa Rosa, Laroda, Black Amber, Frontier, Burgundy, Satsuma, and Eldorado
Pluots:  Dapple Dandy, Flavor King, and Flavor Queen
Berries:  Wild Blackberries
Nectarines:  Flavortop
Vegetables:  Summer squash, Zucchini, long beans, lemon cucumbers, Asian cucumbers, Japanese eggplants, and a few Shishito peppers, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes.

Local farms are bring us:  Yellow and white peaches, Black Amber plums, Pink Grapefruit,

We also have local honey, calendula salve and lip balm, and Good Stuff Jam.

Please check our hours before coming.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Wild blackberries have arrived!  Ours are hand picked from wild blackberry bushes on our non- spray orchard.  Wild blackberries have the traditional flavor that you recognize as blackberry.  They are smaller than the cultivated thorn less berries but higher in flavor. Normally their season lasts for three to four weeks. They are great for snacking and adding to your peach crisp or pie.

We now have new varieties of plums coming in from the orchard. My new favorite is Burgandy, a small, sweet, red-fleshed plum.  Other red fleshed plums we have are Frontier and Satsuma.  We still have a good supply of flavorful, sweet and fragrant Santa Rosa plums.  Just coming in are the Laroda and Black Amber plums.

There are several varieties of yellow and white peaches in our farm stand so come check them out.

Guess what?  We seem to have a good supply of summer squash! They are firm, shinny, fresh and oh so tender.  We also have cucumbers, beans, eggplant, basil and a few peppers and tomatoes.

Don't forget to get a $1 off coupon for your next shopping trip when your purchase is over $10.  In celebration of the 4th of July,  we will double your valid Otow Orchard coupon on July 1, July 2, and July 3, 2016 so you can get $2 off your purchase of fruits and vegetables on these days.

We have recipes for Black Amber plum pie, peach crip, peach cobbler, overnight cucumber pickles, Parmesan summer squash casserole and more.

Currently selling in the farm stand:
Peaches:  Flavorcrest, Red Haven, Regina, Frost, June Pride, PF Lucky 13
White peaches:  Sugar Lady, Babcock, Nectar
Yellow fleshed plums:  Santa Rosa, Laroda, Black Amber
Red fleshed plums:  Satsuma, Frointier, Burgandy
Pluots:  Flavor Supreme, Flavor Queen, Dapple Dandy
Nectarines:  Firecracker, Jade
Berries:  Wild Blackberries
Apricots:  Blenheim
Figs:  Black Mission
Eureka lemons, our local honey,  Good Stuff Jams, Calendula Salve and lip balm
Herbs:  Basil, rosemary, shiso, oregano, mint and thyme
Vegetables:  green and yellow summer squash, Asian cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, green beans, yellow wax beans,  and a few Japanese eggplant, sweet peppers, tomatoes and sungold cherry tomatoes
Hoshigaki:  grade B, hoshigaki strips

From Sunnyslope Farm in Granite Bay:  Yellow peaches and Donut peaches
From Pleasant Hill Farm in Lincoln:  Santa Rosa and Black Amber plums

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