Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's Happening at the Orchard

We've been doing a lot of winter time work at the orchard lately. We've been busy pruning trees, raking up the brush, cutting down old trees and planting new ones. We're also getting the vegetable gardens ready for spring planting by making new garden beds and figuring out garden designs and varieties to plant.

Finishing the new irrigation system by putting in the pipes, hoses and sprinklers is another task we're trying to finish before we get busier with other work in the spring.

A lot of the trees are budding and are nearly ready to blossom. At the end of February and beginning of March the orchard will be transformed by the flowering trees. It's a good time to come visit and take a walk, if you can.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What's at the Fruitstand?

Hoshigaki (massage-dried persimmon) is no longer for sale at the fruit stand. This coming Fall we'll start taking orders for hoshigaki again. Look here on the website in late September or early October for a post announcing that orders have begun. Mark your calender in late September to remind yourself to make an order.

Late last week we picked some of our grapefruit and now have it for sale. Grapefruit will be the last fruit picked until we harvest the biwa (loquat) tree. The first biwa blossoms just started to bloom this past weekend. After biwa we expect cherries, apricots and the first plums sometime in May.

What's at the fruit stand now?

  • Grapefruit--new this past week
  • Oranges--Nodahara's Navel variety (very large)
  • Lemons--Meyer, Eureka
  • Kiwi
  • Fresh Persimmons--Hachiya , gyombo (soft)
  • Vegetables--Jerusalem artichoke
  • Gourds--for decorations and crafting
Above is a photo of blossoms on the pink-blossomed ume tree at the orchard.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ume Blossoms

If you are out at the Orchard in the next couple of days, ask to smell the Ume tree. This Japanese Plum is always the first tree to bloom in the spring and is quickly discovered by bees. If you go up to the tree and smell its blossoms you can just imagine how enticing its gentle sweetness must be to bees emerging from a winter of short rations.

Bees, the Orchard & What's in the Fruit Stand

We heard from Anatoli, (one of the people who keep bees at the orchard) that when he went to check his hives last week he found over half the bees dead. He isn't sure what happened, but thought that it was very strange that so many of them would suddenly die.

In the photo above you can see how the orchard looks right now. The lack of leaves and blossoms makes it possible to see almost from one end of the orchard to the other. In the foreground of the photo are a few bee hives that are tended to by Hoshan, another bee keeper. The bee hives found with so many dead bees are at the end of the orchard by the pond and eucalyptus grove.

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

  • Fresh Persimmons--Hachiya , gyombo (soft)
  • Dried Persimmons (Hoshigaki)--strips only
  • Oranges--Nodahara's Navel variety, (very large)
  • Lemons--Meyer, Eureka
  • Kiwi
  • Vegetables--Jerusalem artichoke
  • Gourds--for decorations and crafting

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