Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suncrest Peaches & White Peaches

A Suncrest Peach.
We now have Suncrest peaches ripe at the orchard.  Suncrest peaches are a sweet, juicy yellow heirloom peach that are difficult to find.  Since they don't ship well or keep for an extended period of time, they aren't sold in major grocery stores.  We can sell soft and ripe Suncrest at the fruit stand because the peaches are picked into boxes and brought directly to the fruit stand, there's no need for packing and shipping. 

Saving Suncrest peaches and his family farm is the subject of the David Mas Masumoto's book,  Epitaph for a Peach--Four Seasons on My Family Farm.  David Masumoto has written a lot of other good books related to his farm and his family history that are worth reading, too.

We also have a lot of white peaches at the fruit stand right now, including Babcock, Nectar, White Lady, Arctic White and Donut peaches.  White peaches have less acid than yellow peaches, so they have less tangy-ness and more sweetness comes through in their flavor.  Ripe white peaches are also difficult to ship, because they're very delicate and show damage easily.  
A Suncrest peach on the left, an Arctic White peach on the right.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fruit Stand & Meat Buyers Club

The Massey Ferguson 135, parked in front of a Bartlett pear tree.  It still runs and gets used at the orchard.
Here's what's at the fruit stand now:

  • Peaches--Flavor Crest, Red Haven, (yellow free-stone varieties); Babcock, White Lady, "Donut" type (white free-stone varieties)
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Frontier, Satsuma
  • Blackberries
  • Vegetables--zucchini, summer squash, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers (Japanese and Lemon), Swiss chard, herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, mint)
  • Eggs
  • Local Honey--from bees at our orchard
The next delivery from the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club will be at our orchard from 3:30- 5:00 on Friday, July 22nd.  Orders need to be received online by Friday, July 15th 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.

Orchard Update

A row of winter squash with buckwheat.
We have a lot of peaches and plums now.  The peaches tend to grow bigger and be more flavorful as we pass from the middle to later varieties of the summer. The peach varieties we're picking now are Red Haven and Flavor Crest.  We also picked the first blackberries this week, which illustrates how the unusually cool weather has affected our crops.  Usually blackberries have dried up and we're through picking them by this time. Out in the orchard the last of the pomegranate blossoms are flowering with red trumpet-like flowers,  the jujube have clusters of tiny yellow-green flowers and persimmon fruits are still small, green and hard on the trees.

In my garden this past week I cut down some of the buckwheat that was interplanted with the winter squash. I planted the buckwheat during the last few weeks of May, then planted the winter squash in the buckwheat seedlings at the beginning of June.  The buckwheat acts as both a cover crop and as a living mulch.  Every week or so I've been weeding the rows and  trimming any buckwheat that shades the squash seedlings too much.  The buckwheat stalks are laid down as mulch around the squash plants, and I leave some of the buckwheat growing if it's not going to interfere with the growth of the squash.  Throughout the season, the buckwheat resprouts and reseeds itself as the winter squash plants grow.  Now the squash plants are big enough that I shouldn't have to weed the rows anymore, because the squash will shade out weeds.

We're still waiting for a bigger tomato harvest.  So far each garden has produced only a few ripe tomatoes.  The first eggplants and cucumbers are ready from the gardens and with the cooler weather it looks like we'll be able to harvest beans for a while still.

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