Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy New Year!

The fruit stand will be closed for New Year's on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.  We'll open again on Tuesday, January 5th, with regular hours.  We remain open through out the winter and spring, from 9-6 Tuesday through Saturday, and 10-5 on Sunday.  Mondays we are closed. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kiwi Blossoms & Fruit

We picked the first kiwi fruit at the orchard this past week.  At left you can see photos of kiwi blossoms on the vines this spring and a box of kiwi fruit at the fruit stand.  If you click on the photos to look closely, you can see how the outer petals of the kiwi blossoms are brownish and fuzzy like the kiwi fruit.

We're taking names for a hoshigaki waiting list in case we have any hoshigaki left after filling all the orders we already have. Unfortunately, it's looking doubtful that we'll be able to get to the names on the waiting list, though. 

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

  • Persimmons--hachiya (soft), fuyu (softening), vodka-treated hyakume, maru
  • Mandarins--owari satsuma
  • Asian Pear--okusankichi
  • Kiwi
  • Apples--fuji, pippin, mutsu
  • Winter Squash
  • Pecans--in the shell
  • Eggs
  • Honey--raw, untreated honey from bees at our orchard
  • Firewood--seasoned firewood (peach, plum, pear, persimmon)
  • Gourds--for decorating

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hoshigaki Orders Stopped

We are sorry to say that we can no longer accept any more orders for hoshigaki (massage-dried persimmons).

Because we need to be sure that we have enough for the orders that have already been placed, we have stopped taking new orders.  The hoshigaki that's currently finishing the drying process is all that we'll be able to produce for this season.

If you like firm fuyu persimmons, try to come get them at the fruit stand soon before they become soft. 

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now: 
  • Persimmons--fuyu, maru, hachiya, hyakume (vodka-treated)
  • Mandarins--owari satsuma variety (various sizes) 
  • Lemons--Meyer
  • Apples--Fuji, Mutsu, pippin
  • Asian pear--Okusankichi (large brown variety)
  • Pecans--in the shell
  • Winter Squash--buttercup, red kuri, Hopi orange
  • Honey--raw, untreated and un-heated honey made by bees at our orchard
Above is a recent photo of a sunset at the orchard with the shapes of persimmon trees and the wind machine.  

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow at the Orchard

There was snow at the orchard this morning, which is a very rare event.  I went out to take photos because I've never seen it snow here in the five years we've lived here.

The photo at left is from early this morning.  Besides a thin layer of slushy snow, the orchard was full of all kinds of chattering, screeching birds.  Flocks of various kinds of birds were happily visiting the softening persimmons at the tops of the trees.  During the day today the snow mostly melted, except in a few areas with no direct sun at all.  To see more photos, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Persimmon Cookies

A lot of people are familiar with persimmons as an ingredient in holiday cookies and breads.  For these recipes you use the pulp of persimmons that have become very soft, like the hachiya persimmons in the photo aboveHachiya is  a type of persimmon that is astringent with tannic acid when hard, but is very sweet when the fruit becomes soft like gelatin.    

Any type of soft persimmon can be used in recipes for baking, but hachiya is most commonly used because it's large, flavorful and has smooth pulp.  Gyombo is a similar variety of persimmon also good for baking.  Gyombo tends to be sweeter than hachiya and has more water content, so if you use gyombo in a recipe you might need a little more flour.  We also use both hachiya and gyombo to dry for hoshigaki.

Here is a recipe for persimmon cookies based on a recipe from The California Persimmon, a persimmon cookbook published by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Placer and Nevada Counties.  To see a nice photo of persimmon cookies that someone posted on Flickr, click here.

Persimmon Cookies Recipe

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup persimmon puree
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg.  Dissolve the teaspoon of baking soda into the cup of persimmon puree and stir together. 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, spices and salt.  Add raisins and nuts, then mix this together with the first mixture.  Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

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