Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mandarins at the Fruit Stand

We now have Owari Satsuma mandarins for sale at the fruit stand. They're sweet, juicy, usually seedless and easy to peel. Mandarins were very late maturing this year and because of so much rain it's been hard to find a time when they're dry enough to pick.  We still have lots of persimmons too, including Hachiya, vodka-treated Hyakume and Fuyu.  The Fuyu persimmons are not crisp and hard anymore though, because it's so late in the season for them.  Although mail orders for hoshigaki are now being added to a waiting list, we still have small amounts of hoshigaki for sale at the fruit stand.

This week's Sacramento News and Review newspaper has an aricle called "Saveurs of the (almost) Lost Ark" about hoshigaki (dried persimmons) and the Slow Food Ark of Taste.  It features Otow Orchard and Penryn Orchard Specialties and talks about how farmers in our area have been trying to preserve the art of making hoshigaki.  Hoshigaki is part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste because it's considered a valuable and unique food in danger of not being produced anymore because of modern market pressures. 

On Saturday, Dec. 25th, the fruit stand will be closed for Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hoshigaki Waiting List

Obaachan massaging with Mizuki, Frisbee and Mocha.

We're sorry to say that any new mail orders for hoshigaki (dried persimmons) for this season will have to be placed on a wait list.  We need to fill the orders we've already received and then check if we have any supply left over.

If you'd like to be placed on the hoshigaki wait list, please mail in the order form so we can get your information.  We'll then notify you when we know if we can fill your order.  We have almost 400 lbs. of hoshigaki orders to fill already, so it may take a while to get to the list if it's possible.

If you are able to come to the orchard, you can still buy small amounts of hoshigaki at the fruit stand.  At the fruit stand we have grades A and B, but not premium hoshigaki for sale.  Premium has the softest texture and is the grade that gets sold in mail orders. 

This year's hoshigaki season had a bit of a late start, and an early finish because of periods of rain and cold.  The freezing temperatures around Thanksgiving time and then the rain made us have to end peeling any more persimmons, so what's drying now is all we'll have for this year's supply.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taking Care of the Kaki

A bucket of some of the last kaki peelings this season.
At the end of last week we finished peeling persimmons (kaki) to hang and dry for hoshigaki.  All the hachiya and gyombo persimmons we use for drying are now too soft to peel, and the weather is too damp and cold for beginning more to dry well.  The last kaki that got peeled may take twice as long to dry as those that began in the warmer weather.  Now we have to concentrate on taking care of the kaki left drying until they're finished.

We are selling small amounts of hoshigaki at the fruit stand, but if you'd like to pick up larger amounts (more than a few pounds), please call us ahead of time so we can reserve it for you (916-791-1656). At this time, we're still accepting mail orders also.  When we determine that we've received hoshigaki orders equivalent to our estimate of what's drying, we'll announce here that we've stopped taking mail orders for the season.  To order hoshigaki by mail, print out the order form from the Hoshigaki/Persimmons section of the website, and mail it in with a check. 

Colder weather makes the fuyu persimmons start to get soft too, so if you like harder fuyus try to come get them soon.  Our mandarins are not quite ready yet, they're ripening late this year.  We hope they'll be ready to pick and have at the fruit stand in a week or so.  

Here's what's at the fruit stand now:
  • Persimmons--Fuyu, Maru, Hachiya, vodka-treated Hyakume, and limited amounts of hoshigaki (dried persimmon)
  • Apples--Granny Smith
  • Asian Pear--Okusankichi (extra large juicy brown variety)
  • Quince
  • Walnuts--in the shell
  • Pecans--in the shell
  • Winter Squash--Butternut
  • Pumpkins & Gourds--for decoration or eating
  • Eggs--from chickens at our orchard
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Local Meat, Eggs & Christmas Trees

    Chickens out in the orchard under a fuyu tree.
    Through the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club you can order local grass-fed lamb and beef, pastured poultry and organic eggs online, then pick up your order at our orchard or at one of the other locations in Placer County.  New this month are stewing hens and honey from Oregon House Farms.  The new order form for December is now online.  Pick up time at the orchard is Friday, Dec. 17th, from 3:30-5:00.  Orders need to be received by the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club by Monday, Dec. 13th at 5:00 PM.

    The Koyama Tree Farm next door to the orchard is selling Christmas trees this coming weekend, Sat. Dec. 11th, and Sun. Dec. 12th.  Hours are from 9-4.  This is the second and last weekend they'll be open for the season.  You can choose and cut your own tree.  Info about their farm and other Christmas tree farms is at the PlacerGrown website.

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