We have the new 2010 order form for hoshigaki (dried persimmons) up on this web site now. If you'd like to order hoshigaki to be sent to you by mail, please order as soon as you can, because we fill your order according to when it was placed. You can find the order form under the "Hoshigaki/Persimmons" tab at the top of the page. To make an order by mail, print out the order form and mail it to us with a check. Sorry, we don't take credit cards.
If you'd like to pick up an order of hoshigaki at the fruit stand, you don't have to fill out the online order form. To arrange to pick up an order at the fruit stand, please email us and tell us what amount you'd like. We'll either write to you or call you back and tell you when we expect it would be ready. If you're able to come out to the orchard yourself to pick up an order, you don't have to pay for shipping, and you can also buy smaller amounts than a pound.
It's important to keep in mind that the process of making hoshigaki is weather dependant. Since we don't know how much sun and heat we get, we don't know ahead of time how much hoshigaki we'll be able to produce. The fruit may ripen more or less quickly and we never know when it will get too soft to peel. In the past few years we've had to stop taking new orders sometime in December. We'll post here on the web site when we can no longer take orders this year.
In the orchard, the persimmons on the trees are starting to have blushes of orange. When they have color, but are still hard, we can start peeling them for making hoshigaki (dried persimmons). It seems like it will be a few more weeks before we will be ready to start peeling the first persimmons, but we'll have to wait and see what the weather brings. After we begin, it will take around 6 weeks for the peeled persimmons to dry and become hoshigaki.
In the photo above you can see fresh, unpeeled hachiya persimmons next to hoshigaki in its finished state. The skin has been peeled, but nothing has been added. The white powder on the outside is natural sugar from inside the fruit that forms on the surface towards the end of the drying process.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Right now we are between peach and persimmon seasons, which are the two busiest times of the year. There have been a few weeks of relative quietness at the orchard, giving us time to catch up on some projects. Tosh has spent time lately re-modeling a part of the fruit stand building to make more more room for drying persimmons inside and to have an improved public restroom. He also dug out a spot at the edge of my garden with the back hoe for a new garlic bed.
To make a new garlic bed, I had to make a liner with aviary wire, then fill it back in with layers of compost and soil. We plant the garlic only in the beds lined with wire this way, because otherwise gophers get in and eat most of the garlic. Ideally, garlic shouldn't be planted in the same place for three years, so each year we should be making wire-lined beds for it to be rotated into until we have enough space. We hadn't had time to make new beds for the garlic to be rotated into for a few years though, and it seemed like this year's garlic didn't grow as well. Hopefully this year will be better.
In the photo below you can see the wire liner in the ground, just as it was beginning to be filled in. If you look closely, at the edge of the bed you can see a big difference between the dusty decomposed granite soil that was dug out and the dark fluffy compost. The soil and compost is all filled in now, so this coming weekend we can plant the garlic.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
At the left you can see a wheelbarrow full of winter squash at the edge of one of the gardens at the orchard. Most of the winter squash has been harvested, so we now have some for sale at the fruit stand. Also new at the fruit stand are Comice pears, Red Torpedo onions, and large brown Olympic Asian pears.
Here's what we have at the Fruit Stand now:
- Apples--Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy
- Asian Pear--Shinseiki, New Century, Yali (yellow varieties) and Shinko, Yoi, Olympic (brown varieties),
- European Pear--Comice
- Plums--Casselman, Kelsey, Friar
- Melons--Ambrosia, Hannah
- Figs--Black Mission, brown variety
- Grapes--Thompson seedless, Kyoho
- Vegetables--tomatoes, eggplant, bitter melon, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, summer squash, tomatillos, red torpedo onions, herbs
- Winter Squash--Red Kuri, Butternut, Delicata
- Eggs--from chickens at our orchard
- Honey--from bees at our orchard
- Organic winter vegetable seedlings--from Peas and Harmony
Monday, September 13, 2010
Otow Orchard is a new delivery site for the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers club. You can order locally grown and produced meat, poultry and eggs through the club online, then pick up your order at the orchard. The producers are local, family-owned operations. Livestock are raised on Sierra Foothills range and pasture and produced with no hormones or antibiotics. The pasture-raised eggs are certified organic. If the orchard isn't convenient, there are also pick up sites in Auburn, Penryn, Truckee and Lincoln.
The first delivery time at the orchard will be Friday, October 1st, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM. There's no membership fee, but a $4.00 delivery charge is added to your order.
The Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers club is organized by the Placer-Nevada County Extension service. Currently they are selling meat and eggs from Flying Mule Farm, Coffee Pot Ranch, High Sierra Beef and Sinclair Family Farm.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The remainder of the organic winter vegetable seedlings from last weekend's sale will be at the orchard plant stand this Saturday and Sunday. Peas and Harmony will have winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, onions, pak choy, lettuce and Asian greens.
We have lots of nice apples at the fruit stand now. From our orchard we have crunchy Red Delicious apples, and from the neighbouring Koyama farm we have Northern Spy and Golden Delicious apples. We also have lots of ripe brown and Black Mission figs. The peaches we have left are the last of the season firm and sweet cling peaches.