Thursday, May 16, 2019

MULBERRIES

Many customers have been stopping by to check for peaches and plums.  We tell them probably not till June.  Peaches and plums are still hard and green.  And with the current 4 days of rain they are subject to disease.  
     Tis the season for mulberries though.  So "Here we go round the mulberry" tree. We are starting to harvest Pakistani Mulberries.  This is a new crop for us so we are waiting to see how sensitive it is to the rain we are experiencing this week. Pakistani Mulberries are a long strand of delicate deep purple drupes.  The drupes cluster around a central stem.  They are sweet, juicy and low in acid.  Most people will wash and eat them right out of the basket.  My internet search tells me they can be used in desserts, salads, and paired with cheese or meat.
    Loquat fruit are on the horizon.  By the end of May we  hope to be harvesting some of these memory fruit.  On the tree they are still greenish  and developing a bit of color. 
     In the orchard, the stone fruit thinning is almost finished.  Next the apples, pears and persimmons need to be thinned.  Keeping up with the  weeds is also a challenge this year.  We were just getting it down, and now there is rain.  
     BarleyOats farm will be supplying us with winter vegetables for a couple more weeks then those vegetables will want to bolt.  Our summer gardens are being planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers and okra.  Their production is at least a month off.

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.


  HOURS
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm 
Sun: 11 am to 5 pm
 Closed on Mondays



Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons

Eureka Lemons
Marsh white grapefruit (yellow flesh) 

Valencia oranges
Pakistani Mulberries (limited supply)
Dehydrated Asian Pears
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm

Herbs: mint, rosemary, oregano
Honey from our orchard

This is what we have from other producers:

Rio Red Grapefruit from Stony Point (organic certified)
Ume from Sunnyslope Farm 
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary

Eggs from Two Feather Farm

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

LEMONS AND GRAPEFRUIT

At last, we are getting more sunny days. The vegetable plant starts are enjoying more days in the sun.  This year they grew slowly and need to play catch up from being cooped up in the hothouse for so long. We have big plans for this week.  Hoping to put a few vegetable plants in the ground and test the orchard irrigation in preparation for the dry months ahead.
      In the orchard I see apple and pear blossoms surrounded by their tender green leaves. The peach and plum trees have now set fruit and I can find tiny green plums and tiny fuzzy gray peaches.  We are holding our breath and hoping we will escape a late frost or hail storm.
       Lemons and grapefruit are now in season. Customers are discovering the tender, juicy and tasty late season Marsh white grapefruit. They are great for fresh eating and juicing.  The sour Eureka lemons are full of juice and lemon flavor.  3 teaspoons added to my apple pie brought out lots of flavor.
       We added a bright splash of flavor to our Easter dinner table, fresh lemonade.  1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water (microwaved) then cooled. Squeeze 1 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons). Combine the sugar mixture, lemon juice and 2 cups cold water. Stir well and garnish with 3 fresh mint leaves.


April 1 to May 17 modified weekday hours are listed below.  Please take note.

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.

  Hours for April 1 to May 17:
Tu, Wed, and Thur:  11:30 am to 1:30 pm

 Fri and Sat:   10 am to 6 pm

            Sun:   11 am to 5 pm
 Closed on Mondays
For other times, please call  for an appointment.
(916) 300-0720

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons

Eureka Lemons
Marsh white grapefruit (yellow flesh)
Kiwi
Dried figs
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm

Herbs: mint, rosemary, oregano

This is what we have from other producers:

Cara Cara oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Rio Red Grapefruit from Stony Point (organic certified)
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary

Honey from Nastase Honey Farm
Eggs from Two Feather Farm

Monday, March 18, 2019

THE ORCHARD IN BLOOM

It was very wet when we left for New York at the beginning of March.  We returned last week to sunny dry California weather, though there is more rain in the forecast.  It is getting late to be planting new trees so that was first on Tosh's agenda.  He put 20 trees in the ground in one day.  Amazing what one can do under pressure.  Half the trees we planted are for grafting.  As the weather dries we are able to put scion wood from our old variety plums onto new root stock. This is how we can preserve heirloom plum varieties that are no longer available at the nurseries.
      As the orchard wakes up so do the pests.  First item on my agenda was to put out a round of mating disruption lures.  This is an organic practice where lures that smell like female moths are hung on target trees to confuse the male moth.  This results in less moth eggs and less wormy fruit.
       The peach and plum trees are pushing blossoms.  It is unusual to see both white plum blossoms and pink peach blossoms at the same time.  If you would like to see this display, now is the time to come for a walk in the orchard.  This show will go on for about 10 days. Then blossoms will start to dry up and green leaves will begin to push out.  In about a month we will see blossoms on apple and pear trees.

March and April modified weekday hours are listed below.  Please take note.

Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.

 March and April Hours:
Tu, Wed, and Thur:  11:30 am to 1:30 pm

 Fri and Sat:   10 am to 6 pm

            Sun:   11 am to 5 pm
 Closed on Mondays
For other times, please call  for an appointment.
(916) 300-0720

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons

Mandarins:  Satsuma and Clementine
Navel Oranges
Eureka Lemons
White grapefruit (yellow flesh)
Kiwi
Dried Figs and peaches
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm
Honey from Otow Orchard (limited supply)

This is what we have from other producers:

Navel oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Cara Cara oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Rio Red Grapefruit from Stony Point (organic certified)
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm (When available)
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary

Honey from Nastase Honey Farm
Eggs from Two Feather Farm

      

Thursday, February 28, 2019

COLD AND WET SEASON

In years past, the plum blossoms would have already made the scene with its display of tight clusters of white blossoms. We are still waiting.  Some pluots are blooming and we see speckles of white blossoms in the orchard.
This time of year we are looking for dry days so we can be out taking care of the dormant orchard.  Pruning and cleaning up the trees are on the agenda.
      It is tree planting time.  We have been scouting the orchard for planting sites.  This year we will plant Summerset peaches and a root stock for grafting those old plum varieties that are no longer available at the nursery.
     Two announcements:
      1.  The Farm Stand will be closed on Sunday March 10 and Monday March 11, 2019.
      2.   March and April modified weekday hours are listed below.  Please take note.


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.

 March and April Hours:
Tu, Wed, and Thur:  11:30 am to 1:30 pm

 Fri and Sat:   10 am to 6 pm

            Sun:   11 am to 5 pm
 Closed on Mondays
For other times, please call  for an appointment.
(916) 300-0720

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons

Mandarins:  Satsuma and Clementine
Navel Oranges
Eureka Lemons
Kiwi
Pecans: Shelled

Dried Figs
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm
Honey from Otow Orchard

This is what we have from other producers:

Navel oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Cara Cara oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Rio Red Grapefruit from Stony Point (organic certified)
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm (When available)
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

CARA CARA ORANGES

    Otow Orchard Satsuma mandarins are still selling by the bag and by the pound. These are juicy, sweet, flavorful and have a reputation for keeping winter colds away.

     In addition to Navel oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm, we also have Cara Cara oranges.  Pleasant Hill Farm harvested late in the season thus enhancing the flavor and sweetness of these oranges.  Cara cara oranges have an orange-red flesh and are tender, juicy and lower in acid than Navel oranges.

      We are now into the grapefruit tree. Pulling on these yellow globes to see if the tree is ready to release them.  Many of them are ready and pop into my hand. Our grapefruit are white or traditional yellow fleshed and very tasty.

      The lemons are still hanging on tight and are not ready for harvesting. When the tree releases them we will know they are ready. 

      If you are not a citrus fan you will be happy to know that the Kiwi made it through December and January without frost damage.  We are harvesting these now.

      Several grades of hoshigaki  are for sale at the farm stand, as well as those from other local producers ($24 to $31 per pound).  We do not have the usual excess we normally have after the drying season ends.

      Winter vegetables from BarleyOats Farm are coming in slowly due to weather and gopher activity.
Give us a call to find out about availability.
           
      The Ume (Japanese apricots) are ending their blooming stage.  The rest of the orchard is getting ready to burst open with color.  By the end of February the white plum blossoms may be finished and the pink peach and nectarine blossoms may be opening.  Call us for an update if you are coming to view the orchard blossoms. 

      At this time of year the trees are resting but the farmer is preparing for the coming season.  As weather permits we are pruning, preparing sites for planting new trees, and spreading decomposed horse manure. Old vegetable gardens are being taken out, vegetable seeds have arrived from the seed companies, and new beds are being planned.  We will soon be planting tiny seeds that will grow an amazing amount of food for the summer and fall.

     As we approach our slow season, be sure to check for modified hours on this page of our web site.  Each year is different and we cannot predict when it will start.


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.

 May to February Hours:

Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm

             Sun:     11 am to 5 pm

    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons

Mandarins:  Satsuma and Clementine
Navel Oranges
Pecans: Shelled

Dried Figs
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm
Honey from Otow Orchard

This is what we have from other producers:

Navel oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Cara Cara oranges from Pleasant Hill Farm
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm (When available)
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary


Saturday, January 5, 2019

WELCOME 2019

          Satsuma mandarins are the star of the season we are in now. At last we have harvested our own mandarin trees. Our crop is late but tasty. These mandarins are known for being easy to peel, juicy and sweet.  Most are seedless but I am not vouching for the chance that some may have gotten pollinated and formed seeds.  Coming soon will be navel oranges then lemons and grapefruit.

     As we celebrate the new year, we wonder what it will bring us.  As farmers we reflect on the previous year's production and always seem to have hope for a better crop in the coming year.  Last year's production of peaches, plums, and persimmons was disappointing. We had a small harvest and so we are looking forward to at least a normal crop.  But who knows what a normal crop means any more.  Along with hope, peace and kindness we hope for an easy water supply, adequate chill hours, a nice crop, good customers, and sunny days.

    The next week will bring us welcoming rain and add to the much needed snow pack.  When it is not raining we are pruning in the orchard. When it is about to rain we work on cleaning up the gardens and orchard.  

     Fuyu persimmons were very popular and their season is complete with the sale of the last one last week.  If you are a Fuyu fan start checking on them in October 2019.  We are still selling Maru persimmons.  These are the brown fleshed persimmons that are only sweet if pollinated.  They are getting softer and sweeter.

      Several grades of hoshigaki  are for sale at the farm stand, as well as those from other local producers ($24 to $31 per pound).  We do not have the usual excess we normally have at the beginning of January. 

     Although many of our trees are into their dormant season, winter vegetables from BarleyOats Farm are continuing to produce.  For best selections come by the farm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can also make customized orders online by visiting barleyoats.farm

     As we approach our slow season, be sure to check for modified hours on this page of our web site.  Each year is different and we cannot predict when it will start.


Official Statement: We have NO pick-your-own activities.
 May to February Hours:
Tu to Sat:   10 am to 6 pm
             Sun:       11 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays

Here's what we have in the farm stand from Otow Orchard:
Asian pears: Okusankichi
Apple:  Fuji, Granny Smith
Persimmons: Brown fleshed persimmons: Maru
Hoshigaki, hand dried persimmons
Quince: Ancient fruit, high in pectin

Mandarins
Pomegranates: Red pomegranates
Walnuts: shelled
Pecans: in the shell

Dried Figs
Calendula Salve and Lip Balm
Honey from Otow Orchard
Winter squash: Butternut

This is what we have from other producers:
Jams from The Good Stuff
Winter vegetables from BarlyOats Farm (When available)
Honey  from Top O' The Hill Apiary
Bee pollen from Top O' The Hill Apiary
2019 Master Gardener Calendar




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