Friday, October 21, 2011

Community Events

This Sunday, Oct. 23rd, there's a  Farm-to-Table Dinner at the local Lone Buffalo Vineyards featuring local seasonal foods, including produce from our orchard.  There will be vineyard tours, and a six course dinner put on by Source Global Tapas restaurant.  Click here for more information and to register.

The weekend of Nov. 11th and 12th will be busy for us, because we'll be demonstrating hoshigaki (Japanese traditional hand-dried persimmon) at two different locations.  On Saturday, Nov. 11th from 10-2 we'll be talking about persimmons and how to make hoshigaki at Bushnell Garden supply in Granite Bay. This is a drop-in event with no need to register ahead.

On Sunday, Nov. 12th from 10-3 we'll be at Twin Peaks Orchard in New Castle for their Fall Harvest Open House.  Twin Peaks is an orchard that started about the same time as ours in 1911 and our families have known each other since then.  Twin Peaks grows grows a lot of the same fruits we do, including persimmons.  Their specialty is amagaki persimmons, which are hyakume persimmon treated so that they're sweet when still firm.  We'll be there to demonstrate hoshigaki.  For more information, see the Twin Peaks website.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkins & Persimmons

Topped hachiyas waiting to get peeled.
We have lots of pumpkins and gourds for decorating and carving outside the fruit stand.  You can go out to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin, too.

Peeling persimmons for hoshigaki (hand-dried persimmons) began this week.   Picking is still slow though, with having to go through a lot of trees to find enough hachiyas ripe enough for peeling to fill a few boxes.   We only have limited amounts of hoshigaki to sell at the fruit stand right now because we just started this year's season.  After peeling, each persimmon takes around six weeks to dry and become hoshigaki. If you want to order hoshigaki by mail order, check the Oct. 3rd post for more information.  To eat a fresh hachiya persimmon, it has to look like a water balloon and be the texture of jello.   There are a few hard hachiyas for sale in the fruit stand now, but not yet a very big supply.

We picked the first fuyu persimmons this week.  The first ones picked are yellow-orange and crisp, not dark orange and juicy like they will be a few weeks later.  Fuyu persimmon is also called "apple persimmon" because it's sweet to eat when firm like an apple.  We're continuing to pick maru persimmon, too.  Maru is the earliest type of persimmon we have.  Maru is also called "chocolate" persimmon because if it was pollinated the fruit will be brown inside and sweet to eat when firm.  As the weather gets colder, all of the persimmons should ripen more quickly.

People are welcome to visit the orchard and see the persimmons drying.  We're open Tues. through Sat.,  9-6 and Sun. from 10-5.  We're closed only on Mondays. If you want to visit the orchard for an organized group tour, please call ahead to schedule a time.  Other groups have already arranged times to come, and we want to be able to give everyone good attention.  Because we're a small farm with only a few workers, we need to know ahead of time to have enough staff available to help out.

Here's what's at the fruit stand now:
  • Pumpkins (at the fruit stand and at the pumpkin patch)
  • Persimmons--Maru, Fuyu, Hachiya
  • Apples--Fuji, Mutsu, Golden Delicious
  • Asian Pear--Shinko, Olympic
  • Pomegranate--white variety
  • Jujube
  • Vegetables--tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash,eggplant, peppers, basil, oregano, mint
  • Winter Squash--butternut, kabocha (various types), red kuri, buttercup, spaghetti squash, pie pumpkins
  • Organic Winter Vegetable Seedlings
  • Local Honey--star thistle honey from Lincoln
  • Eggs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Persimmon Show on CA Gold Oct. 13th

Helen and her grandson, Toshio at the start of hoshigaki season in a previous year.   Helen is peeling and Toshio is stringing the fruits so they can hang on a stick to dry.
The show Huell Howser did about persimmons and making hoshigaki at Otow orchard for the PBS TV show California Gold will air this Thursday, Oct. 13th on PBS stations around California.  A few years ago, he and the show's crew came and spent part of a day interviewing and filming Helen, Chris and Tosh about drying persimmons.  Since then the show has aired a few times a year. Here are the stations and times:
  • KVIE/ Sacramento, Thurs., 10/13 @8:30 PM
  • KCET/ Los Angeles, Thurs., 10/13 @ 7:30 PM
  • KVPT / Fresno, Thurs., 10/13 @ 8:30 PM
  • KVCR / San Bernadino, Thurs., 10/13 @ 8:30 PM, Sun., 10/16 @ 8:30 PM
We have maru, the earliest variety of persimmon, picked and at the fruit stand now.   Maru is a pollination-variant type of persimmon that is sweet when firm if it's pollinated, but puckery if it's un-pollinated.  It's also called chocolate persimmon, because the pollinated fruits are brown inside.

We haven't yet started peeling the first hachiya persimmons for drying, because they're still a bit too green on the trees.  The outside and inside drying racks have been put up, kaki sticks and fans are cleaned and ready to be used, and we're waiting for the fruit to become orange enough to peel.  Once a persimmon is peeled, it takes around six weeks to finish drying and become hoshigaki.  We sell hoshigaki (dried persimmon) by mail order, or if you're in the area you can stop by the fruit stand and pick up an order.  To order to pick up at the fruit stand, please call or email us.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Mail Order Form

The new 2011 Hoshigaki Mail Order Form is now posted here on the website, under the "Hoshigaki/Persimmons" tab.  If you'd like to mail order hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon) this year, please print out the order form and mail it back to us.

Out in the orchard the hachiya persimmons are still slightly green, so we haven't started peeling any yet for hoshigaki.  The hachiyas need to be fully orange, but still hard to be able to peel in order to start the drying process.  After peeling, each fruit takes around six weeks to dry, depending on the weather.  The peeled fruits are hung by their stems in pairs and massaged every few days to help them to dry evenly.  By the end of the drying process, each persimmon has developed a dusting of natural powdered sugar on its surface, and is soft and sweet.

Please keep in mind that because of these natural processes and weather variables, orders may take 8 to 10 weeks to ship.  It's important to get your order in as soon as possible, because supplies are limited to what we can produce while the weather permits.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apples & Pumpkins

We have lots of varieties of apples right now, including Fuji, Crispin, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Northern Spy.  We also picked lots of winter squash and pumpkins. There are some pumpkins already picked and at the fruit stand and a pumpkin patch where people can go out to and pick their own pumpkin. Peas and Harmony has some organic winter vegetable seedlings for sale at the orchard, too.  There are broccoli, beets, Swiss chard, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, onions, thyme and other seedlings ready to be planted now into winter gardens. 

Persimmons are not quite ready yet, only a few maru have been picked so far. People say that cold weather ripens persimmons, so maybe this week's cooler temperatures will speed up the ripening.  We're expecting the first rain since June during the week this week, too.  It's a bit early for rain but the weather's been unusual this year. 

The next delivery from the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club will be at our orchard from 3:30- 5:00 on Friday, Oct. 21st.  Orders need to be received online by Friday, Oct. 14th 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.

Here's what's at the fruit stand now:

  • Pumpkins (at the fruit stand and at the pumpkin patch)
  • Apples--Fuji, Crispin (Mutsu), Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy
  • Asian Pear--Shinko, New Century, 20th Century, Olympic
  • Plums--Angelina
  • European Pear--Comice
  • Figs--Black Mission
  • Quince
  • Jujube
  • Vegetables--tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash,eggplant, long beans, peppers, basil, oregano, mint
  • Winter Squash--butternut, kabocha (various types), red kuri, buttercup, spaghetti squash, pie pumpkins
  • Organic Winter Vegetable Seedlings
  • Local Honey--from bees at our orchard, star thistle honey from Lincoln
  • Eggs

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