Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year

The fruit stand will be closed on New Year's Day and the day after, (Jan. 1st and 2nd). We'll open again on Saturday, Jan. 3rd.

Above is a photo of Viviano next to the mochi-pounding mortar at the orchard.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's at the Fruit Stand

At the fruit stand we have:

  • Fresh Persimmons--Hachiya (soft and hard), gyombo (soft), Fuyu, Maru and vodka-treated Hyakume
  • Kiwi--picked for the first time this week
  • Apples--Koyama's Granny Smith
  • Mandarins--satsuma (only a small supply left)
  • Quince--the last of the season
  • Vegetables--Jerusalem artichoke
  • Gourds--for decorations and crafting
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard
The last hard fuyu persimmons are starting to soften, so if you want hard ones, you'll need to get them soon. Some of the fuyu are still hard, but it's too late in the season for them to be crisp and crunchy anymore.

Above is a photo of kiwi fruit growing on vines at the orchard.

Hoshigaki Update

Hoshigaki (dried persimmon) is not available for sale at the fruit stand for now. We need to fill our previous mail orders and wait for the last persimmons to finish drying. At the very end of the season hoshigaki take longer to finish, and the quality is not always as good. The last persimmons peeled for drying were ripest and more likely to develop tears when drying and massaging. The weather to dry the last persimmons is less sunny and more damp and cold than Fall weather, also, so this makes drying take longer.

We expect that we'll have hoshigaki to pick up for sale in the fruit stand again in mid-January, but we may not have premium quality. If you would like to be added to a waiting list and notified when the last of this season's hoshigaki is available at the fruit stand, please call or email us. Our email is, and our phone number is (916) 791-7165.

At left is a photo of a box of hoshigaki strings and stems, snapped off from the persimmons when they're nearly finished drying. We carefully take the stems out of the loops and wash the strings to use them again for next season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

An End to New Hoshigaki Orders

Thank you for all your interest and orders our massaged dried persimmons (hoshigaki). We now have to stop accepting any new mail orders for Hoshigaki for this season. If you have already sent in an order, we do expect to be able to fill it, but we are unable to take any more new orders.

We hope to be finished sending out all the mail orders we've already received by mid-January. If you've sent in your order recently, you probably already know that orders sent to us after Dec. 4th are unlikely to arrive at their destinations by Christmas. Please email us with any questions about your order (

Our small family orchard has only a few workers and hoshigaki really is a "Slow Food". Now with the colder and more damp weather, the persimmons now hanging on the racks are likely to take 8 weeks to complete the drying process, as compared to a minimum of 4 weeks as in October. It's not possible to speed up the process and still have nice, soft hoshigaki. We appreciate your patience.

We still have small amounts for of hoshigaki (hand-dried persimmons) for sale at the fruit stand if you're able to come to our orchard and pick it up, but we don't have enough left to take any new mail orders. It's helpful to call ahead to the fruit stand if you plan to come pick up hoshigaki so that we can have it reserved for you. Our phone number is (916) 791-1656.

In September of 2009 we'll start taking orders for next year. If you want to order next year, we recommend that you get your order in as early as possible, because we fill the earliest ones first.

The above photo is a close up of hoshigaki (massaged dried persimmon). You can see the natural sugar that comes out on the surface.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's at the Fruit Stand

At the fruit stand you'll find:

  • Hoshigaki (massaged dried persimmons)--various grades for sale at a range of prices per pound
  • Fresh Persimmons--Hachiya (soft and hard), gyombo (soft), Fuyu, Maru and vodka-treated Hyakume
  • Apples--Koyama's Granny Smith
  • Mandarins--satsuma
  • Quince--the last of the season
  • Vegetables--Chiles (fish), Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke
  • Gourds--for decorations and crafting
  • Honey--from our orchard
A lot of the Fuyu persimmons are starting to soften, so if you want hard fuyu, try to get them soon.

Above is a photo of satsuma mandarins.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lots of Jerusalem Artichokes

A few weekends ago I started digging up my garden's Jerusalem artichoke bed. It was amazing how many each plant produced. The wheel barrow in the photo at left shows what came from just two plants.

This is the first time I've tried to grow Jerusalem artichoke. I was suprised that growing it was so easy and required such little work. I remember weeding the bed just once in the Spring, and then I just watered it regularly. Each piece of tuber I planted produced a plant around 6 feet tall. The plants are in the sunflower family (they're also called sunchokes), and in the late summer they blossomed and had small yellow sunflowers. I snipped off their blossoms so that more energy could go to the roots to help them produce the Jerusalem artichoke tubers. The plants are now mostly dead and brown, so I dug up a couple of plants to harvest the tubers.

Jerusalem artichokes are native to eastern North America and are said to have been introduced to Samuel de Champlain by Native Americans in Massachusettes. Mostly they are cooked like potatoes or other root vegetables. Another interesting thing about Jerusalem artichokes is that they contain inulin, a type of starch that is considered healthier for diabetics. This weekend I hope to finish digging up the Jerusalem artichoke bed and have some ready to sell at the fruit stand.

Click here to go to 's web page about Jerusalem artichoke, where you can also find links to recipes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cold Weather Ripens Persimmons

This past week's colder weather and fog has brought an end to peeling fresh persimmons to dry for hoshigaki. The hachiya and gyombo persimmons on the trees have all started to get too ripe and soft to be suitable for peeling. Therefore, what we already have peeled and begun to dry is all the hoshigaki that will be able to be produced for this year's season. The persimmons we recently started drying will probably take longer to dry than those we started in the warmer weather in October (8 weeks in comparison to 4 weeks).

The ripening of the persimmons also means that we must stop mailing out orders of fresh persimmons. The fruit is now too soft to ship and have arrive in good condition. We are still selling fresh persimmons at the fruit stand, but we can't take any new mail orders for fresh persimmons. Our mail order items are now limited to hoshigaki (dried persimmons) and mandarins.

Since the airing of the PBS California Gold television program featuring the orchard we have been swamped with mail orders for hoshigaki. Although it was great as publicity for hoshigaki and the orchard, it's been hard to keep up with the increase in orders.

We are sorry to say that
if you order hoshigaki (dried persimmons) now, we can't guarantee that your order will be shipped out in time to arrive before Christmas.

We hope that customers who are able will come to the orchard and buy hoshigaki at the fruit stand. If you know you'll be coming to pick up hoshigaki, it's helpful if you call ahead and tell us. You can reach us at (916) 791-1656.

What's at the Fruit Stand:

  • Hoshigaki (dried persimmons)--various grades for sale at a range of prices per pound
  • Fresh Persimmons--Hachiya (soft and hard), Fuyu, Maru and vodka-treated Hyakume
  • Apples--Koyama's Granny Smith
  • Mandarins--Nodahara's satsuma
  • Quince
  • Pomegranate--Red
  • Pecans
  • Vegetables--Peppers (hot and sweet), Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke
  • Gourds--for decorations and crafting
Above is a photo of peeled persimmons hanging to dry for hoshigaki (massage-dried persimmons) at the orchard.

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