Thursday, May 26, 2011


The first cherries are ready at the orchard.  These are the first new fruits of the summer season.  At the fruit stand you can find both red and yellow Royal Anne cherries in limited supplies.

We still have Valencia oranges, white grapefruit, Swiss chard, fresh herbs, honey and eggs, too.

Hail, Lacewings & Praying Mantises

We've been having strange weather lately with hail and rain last weekend and yesterday it rained heavily all afternoon.  At the left you can see the view looking out from the fruit stand during last weekend's hailstorm.  Hail almost the size of peas is collecting in the hay by the flowers.  Leaves of plants in the gardens were damaged, but not too badly.  We'll have to wait and see what the hail did to the fruit on the trees because the marks won't show until the fruit grows bigger.  

In the orchard we have been finishing thinning persimmon blossoms and checking and fixing the irrigation.  Chris and Michie have been continuing to sprinkle lacewing eggs on the trees.  The eggs are supposed to hatch into lacewing larvae that will prey upon caterpillers of various orchard pests.   

The gardens are all planted for summer vegetables now. We've been spending time weeding and mulching. Next to plant will be Winter squash and pumpkins. When I put tomato cages around the plants this year I noticed quite a few praying mantis egg cases attached to the wire.  This weekend I saw that one had opened and tiny praying mantises were climbing all around the cage.  Below is a photo I tried to take of them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Late Spring, almost Summer

Persimmon flowers being visited by bees.
Citrus trees have been blossoming and the wind has been carrying the perfume scent of the flowers around the orchard.  Persimmons trees started flowering and bees have been visiting the clusters of small yellowish flowers. When you stand by a citrus or persimmon tree you can hear the bees buzzing. In the orchard we're continuing to mow and to thin fruit from the apple and nashi (Asian pear) trees.  Chris has been putting out parasitic trichogramma wasp eggs and lacewing eggs in the trees because they are beneficial insects that prey upon larvae of orchard and garden pests.  We finally finished planting summer vegetables and seedlings in the gardens. Because of the late rains and cool weather this spring the gardens got put in later than usual.  

We have stopped mail orders for hoshigaki (hand-dried persimmon) until October.  The temperatures have now warmed enough that the coating of natural powdery sugar on the outside of the persimmons is at risk of melting during shipping. We have hoshigaki strips and small amounts of hoshigaki for sale by request to pick up at the fruit stand only.  

At the fruit stand we also have grapefruit, Valencia oranges, lemons, Swiss chard, fresh herbs (oregano, mint, dill, thyme, lemon balm, rosemary, catnip), local honey from bees at the orchard and eggs. Peas and Harmony has organic tomato, pepper, cucumber, zucchini and melon seedlings for sale at the plant stand. 

The next delivery for the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club will be at our orchard from 3:30- 5:00 on Friday, May, 20th. Orders need to be received by Mon., May 16th at 5:00.  Through the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club you can order local naturally grown pork and lamb, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, eggs and honey.  The Placer County Real Food Cookbook can be ordered and delivered through the Meat Buyers Club, too.  Monthly deliveries are at our orchard in Granite Bay, at Community Ink in Truckee and at Confluence Kitchen in Auburn.

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