Sunday, November 29, 2009

Peeling Has Ended

We stopped peeling more persimmons to dry for hoshigaki just before Thanksgiving this week.  The persimmons have gotten too soft to peel and to dry well at this point.  This means that what we started drying already will be all that can be made for the season.  We're still taking orders for hoshigaki though, and we still have some for sale in the fruit stand. 

In the photo above you can see buckets of persimmon peelings next to Toshio's worm bin at the orchard.  Toshio had been feeding some of the peelings to the worms along with other compost from the orchard. The worm castings make very rich fertilizer that we hope to use for the gardens next spring.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mandarins and Hoshigaki

We continue to be very busy at the orchard lately, with lots of people who want to see the hoshigaki drying process and try different types of persimmons coming to visit.  This past week's publicity about the orchard has definitely brought a lot of people out. The PBS television show California Gold featuring the orchard was shown multiple times, and the Sacramento News and Review had an article about persimmons that mentioned us.  The Sacramento News and Review article was accurate and very informative about the different types of persimmons.  To see the article, click here

Drying persimmons for hoshigaki was a bit trickier this past week, because of a few episodes of rain.  They dry more slowly when it rains because of dampness in the air and less sun exposure for the persimmons after first being peeled.  Also the weather is getting colder and we are hurrying to peel as many persimmons as possible before the cold softens them too much for peeling.   Once the persimmons are too soft to peel, the persimmons that have started drying are all the hoshigaki we'll be able to make for the the season. 

Other news is that we now have mandarins for sale at the orchard.  Here's a list of what at the fruit stand now:

  • Persimmons--fuyu, maru, hachiya, hyakume (vodka-treated)
  • Hoshigaki  (dried persimmon)--in small quantities, please call ahead for larger amounts
  • Mandarins--owari satsuma variety (various sizes) 
  • Apples--Fuji, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, pippin
  • Asian pear--Okusankichi (large brown variety)
  • Pomegranate--white & red varieties
  • Winter Squash--buttercup, red kuri, kabocha, Hokkaido, pumpkins
  • Gourds--for decorating
  • Honey--raw, untreated and un-heated honey made by bees at our orchard
Above is a photo of a mandarin tree at our orchard.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Mail Order for Hoshigaki, Mandarins & Other Fresh Fruit

    We are still taking mail orders for hoshigaki (massage-dried persimmons) and mandarins, but have now stopped taking orders for both Asian pear and fresh persimmons.  Soon the fresh persimmons will get too soft to ship out, and we need to finish getting out the orders people have already put in.

    To order hoshigaki (massage-dried persimmons), get to the order form.  We don't take orders online, so you have to print out the form and mail it to us with a check.  We can only accept checks, no credit cards or Pay Pal.  Another way to get to the order form is to go our home page and click on "2009 Mail Order Form for persimmons now available".

    Edit: We're now sold out for 2009

    Above is a photo of the hoshigaki gift box.  We mail it out with a small hand-made tag with an origami persimmon on the front.  The regular one pound size of hoshigaki is sent in a clear bag with a paper label inside.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Persimmon Pumpkin Pie

    Here's a recipe for making a persimmon pumpkin pie, or pumpkin pie with persimmon added, if you'd like to think of it that way.  I made this by taking a  persimmon pie recipe and substituting half the amount of persimmon called for with pumpkin.  It tastes like a pumpkin pie with added persimmon flavor, and with a slightly smoother texture.  I've also made this using winter squash instead of pumpkin, since winter squash is usually sweeter and we still have them from the gardens.

    The original recipe was called "Persimmon Cream Pie", and comes from The California Persimmon, a persimmon cookbook published by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Placer and Nevada Counties

    Persimmon Pumpkin Pie

    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    3/4 cup persimmon pulp
    3/4 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
    1 2/3 cup evaporated milk or light cream
    1 8 in. uncooked pie crust

    Combine beaten eggs, sugar, spices and salt.  Mix well.  Add pumpkin and persimmon pulp, evaporated milk or cream  and stir again.  Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes.

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Now's the time for Fuyu Persimmons

     Fuyu persimmons are a variety of persimmon that is sweet and ready to eat when they're hard, in the same way an apple is.  It's okay to wait until fuyus get softer to eat them also, but people usually prefer them firm.  The colder weather lately is starting to help soften some of the fuyus, so if you like them to be firm, try and come to the fruit stand soon.  We have lots of fuyu persimmons picked now, and are selling them by the pound and at a discount for a flat or box

    At the Fruit Stand now you'll find:  

    • Persimmons--fuyu, maru, hachiya, hyakume (vodka-treated)
    • Hoshigaki  (dried persimmon)--in small quantities, please call ahead for larger amounts
    • Apples--Fuji, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, pippin
    • Asian pear--Okusankichi (large brown variety)
    • Pomegranate--white & red varieties
    • Winter Squash--butternut, buttercup, red kuri, kabocha, Hokkaido, pumpkins
    • Vegetables--peppers (sweet and hot)
    • Gourds--for decorating
    • Honey-raw, untreated  and unheated honey from bees at our orchard
    Above is a close up of a fuyu persimmon. 

    California Gold & Open House

    The PBS television show California Gold featuring Otow Orchard drying persimmons will air again this Fall. Here are the times we know of so far:
    • Thurs., Nov. 12th, 7:30 PM on KCET Los Angeles
    • Thurs., Nov. 19th, 9:00 PM on KVIE Sacramento

    Huell Howser of California Gold came to interview people at the orchard and show the process of making hoshigaki (dried persimmons) in the Fall of 2007. The episode has aired quite a few times since then, in California and also in Huell Howser's home state of Tennessee. Click here for more about the show.

    Also, we hope lots of people come out to this coming Saturday's open house at the orchard.  The orchard is very pretty right now, with the foliage of some of the trees turning turning red, orange and yellow. The open house is sponsored and organized by Placer Land Trust , and will take place at Otow Orchard  on Saturday, Nov. 14th from 1:00-3:00 PM.  There will be free food, tours of the orchard,  hoshigaki demonstrations and hay bales and tractors to play on.  The orchard and fruit stand will be open from 9-6 as usual that day.  Click here for a link to their site with information about the event.  The open house is free and open to the public.  

    The photo above shows a maru persimmon tree at the edge of the old packing shed at the orchard

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