Monday, October 8, 2012

Fruit Stand and Producers Cooperative

This year for the first time we have fresh chestnuts.  We also now have pippen and mutsu (also called crispin) apples. Other new items at the fruit stand are white pomegranate, winter squash, pumpkins and gourds.  Our pumpkin patch is now open for picking your own pumpkin, too. 

We've been peeling lots of persimmons for hoshigaki, but we don't yet have any finished from this season.  The drying process takes around six weeks at this time of year.  To order hoshigaki (dried persimmon) through mail order, please print out our order form and send in your order with a check.  We don't yet have hoshigaki in the fruit stand for sale.

Here's what we have in the fruit stand now:
  • Persimmons--Maru (chocolate), soft hachiya
  • Apples--Fuji, Mutsu, Golden Delicious
  • Pomegranate--white variety (cream to pink outside, softer, sweeter pink seeds)
  • Plums--Casselman
  • Asian Pear--20th Century, New Century, Yoi, Shinko
  • European Pear--Comic, D'Anjou
  • Chestnuts
  • Jujube
  • Grapes--Muscat
  • Vegetables--Tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant (Japanese and Italian), sweet peppers, hot chiles (jalapeno and fish), Swiss chard
  • Winter Squash--Butternut, Kabocha, Acorn
  • Herbs--Basil, oregano, mint (cut if you ask)
  • Pumpkins--at the fruit stand or pick your own
  • Decorative Gourds
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax from the orchard
  • The Art of Real Food Cookbook--by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenney
  • Perfectly Persimmon Cookbook--1004 persimmon recipes by Jean Brine
  • Master Gardeners Calender--by Placer County Master Gardeners
Through the Sierra Foothills Producers Cooperative you can order local, naturally grown and raised meats, eggs, cheese, honey, olive oil, produce and products such sauces and marmalades. October orders must be made by Friday, Oct. 12th at 4:00 PM.  You can pick up your order in one of five locations including Otow Orchard at scheduled times during the week of Oct. 15th.  The next delivery at our orchard will be from 4:00 - 5:00 PM on Friday, Oct.  21st.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Placer Farm & Barn Open House

Our orchard is part of this year's Placer Farm and Barn Open House.  We are one of 14 sites that will be open on Sunday, Oct. 14th with tours and activities to celebrate the county's agricultural heritage.  At our orchard from 10-5 we'll have fruit tasting and demonstrations on how to make hoshigaki and vodka persimmons.  Visitors will be able to see our horse and chickens as well as a mini-donkey named Alice and a mini-mule named Coco.  There will be a straw bale maze for kids to play on and a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin.  The fruit stand will be open and people can go on tours of the orchard. 

We're also having a raffle to raise money for donations to the Placer Food Bank.  Funds raised will help us buy surplus fruit from local farmers that will be donated to the Food Bank.  Prizes include a pound of hoshigaki, 10 lbs. of mandarins and a gift certificate to our fruit stand. 

Twin Peaks Orchard will have jam for sale from their orchard in Newcastle.  Placer County Master Gardeners, the Placer Food Bank, 4-H, Wayne's Herbs, and the Granite Bay Girl Scouts will also be at the orchard with information tables. In the afternoon, Anatoli will be working with his bees in the apiary and visitors can go and watch. 


Hoshigaki:  The Ancient Art of Drying Persimmons:  10:30, 1:00, 4:00
Watch as Tosh and Toshio peel, hang, massage and explain the steps to making hoshigaki.
Orchard Diversity Above and Below Ground: 11:30, 2:30
Learn about Otow Orchard's sustainable practices to encourage biological diversity while growing fresh produce without synthetic chemicals, presented by Julie Steele. Julie's projects include worm composting, soil drenching, and compost tea.

Making Vodka Persimmons: 12:30, 3:00
Learn how we treat our hyakume persimmons with vodka to sweeten them. 

Orchard Tours:  11:00, 3:30

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 Hoshigaki Mail Order Form

Hoshigaki in Gift Boxes
Hoshigaki and unpeeled hachiya persimmons
The new 2012 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.

The continuing warm weather seems to be ripening the persimmons earlier than usual. We started peeling the first hachiya persimmons over the weekend.  Peeling is the first step in the hoshigaki process.  The persimmons need to be fully orange, but still firm enough to peel.  The peeled fruits are hung by their stems in pairs and massaged every few days to help them to dry evenly.  After peeling, each fruit takes around six weeks to dry, depending on the weather.  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 12 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.

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