Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hoshigaki, Fuyu and Mandarin

Persimmon season is in full swing right now.  The fruit stand is full of fresh persimmons and all the drying racks are filled with sticks of persimmons in the process of drying.  We've been spending lots of time massaging the drying persimmons and deciding which ones are dry enough and ready to take off the racks.  In the packing room we have been packaging finished hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) to sell at the fruit stand and for mail orders.

We're still peeling persimmons to start new hoshigaki because the persimmons are still hard enough to peel.  Sometime in the next few weeks  we'll need to stop peeling because the persimmons will either be mostly too ripe to dry well or the weather will be too cool or damp for them to dry well. Right now we're still taking orders for pick up at the fruit stand or mail order. If you'd like to pick up more than a pound of hoshigaki at out fruit stand, it's a good idea to call ahead If you live within driving distance picking up an order at the fruit stand may be worthwhile economically.

At the fruit stand we have lots of hard fuyu persimmons still.  We have fuyus for sale by the pound or by the bag.  Fuyus are sweet and ready to eat when they're hard.  We also have hachiya and gyombo persimmons,  which must be very soft to be sweet.  Other persimmons we have are maru (or chocolate persimmon) and hyakume (or cinnamon persimmon).  Maru and hyakume are pollination variant type persimmons, which means they're sweet and ready to eat hard if they're pollinated.  We also have vodka-treated hyakume, which is always sweet and ready to eat when hard, because of the vodka treatment.  We also have owari satsuma mandarins, Granny Smith apples, red pomegranate, kabocha winter squash, honey from bees at the orchard, and two different persimmon cookbooks for sale at the fruit stand. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hoshigaki and Hachiya persimmons

Hachiya persimmons by the wind machine
We've been busy peeling hachiyas to dry for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) since last week.  Each hachiya persimmon is peeled by hand and then a string is looped around its stem.  The peeled hachiyas  hang in pairs on specially made sticks that fit into our hoshigaki drying racks.  They start drying outside in the sun and wind, then later on we move them to one of the inside drying rooms.

Hachiyas are a variety of persimmon that is astringent when eaten hard.  To eat a hachiya fresh, you need to wait until it's soft like jello with translucent skin.  If you like soft and sweet fruit this texture, you can just eat the hachiya with a spoon fresh.  Soft hachiyas are also the type of persimmon used in making persimmon bread and cookies.  The pulp is added to baked goods in the same way you would use soft bananas in banana bread.

The hard hachiyas we peel to make hoshigaki are astringent at first, but as the peeled fruits dry they ripen and sweeten.  Moisture from the inside comes to the surface and leaves a dusting of white fructose.  The end result is a whole dried fruit with the texture of a date inside and a coating of its own powdered sugar on the outside.   

We are still taking mail orders for hoshigaki.  You can also contact us and arrange to pick up your order at the fruit stand if you live within driving distance. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Patch & Persimmon Time

Now at the fruit stand we have many kinds of persimmons for sale.  There are lots of soft or softening hachiya and also maru, fuyu and vodka-treated hyakume.  We've been busy peeling persimmons to dry for hoshigaki since the beginning of this week. 

There was a good article recently about the orchard in the Sacramento Bee.  In it there's a description of the different varieties of persimmons we grow and information about the history of the farm.  A link to the article is here.

The pumpkin patch is open at the orchard now. If you come to the fruit stand, stop by and let us know if you want to go out and pick a pumpkin and we'll direct you out there. 

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

  • Persimmons--Fuyu, Maru (chocolate), Nagamaru, Hachiya (soft and hard), Coffee Cake, Vodka-treated Hyakume
  • Hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon)--whole and strips
  • Asian pears--Okusankichi
  • Apples--Granny Smith, Fuji
  • Pomegranate--White and Red varieties
  • Quince
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetables--Tomatillos, shishito peppers, jalapeños, garlic
  • Winter squash--Butternut, Kabocha
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--honey, propolis, bee pollen, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs
  • Perfectly Persimmon Cookbook--1004 persimmon recipes by Jean Brine
  •  The California Persimmon--a persimmon cookbook published by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Placer and Nevada Counties. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014 Hoshigaki Mail Order Form

The new 2014 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 with your check.

In the photo you can see finished hoshigaki being held in front of a rack of still drying persimmons.  We started peeling the first hachiya persimmons for hoshigaki at the very end of September. The hachiyas need to be fully orange, but still hard to be able to peel in order to start the drying process.  After peeling, each fruit takes around six weeks to dry, depending on the weather.  The peeled fruits are hung by their stems in pairs and massaged every few days to help them to dry evenly.  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.

Because of these natural processes and weather variables, orders may take 8 to 10 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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

White Pomegranates, Jujube & Early Persimmons

All are pollination varient varieties We now have a lot of fall fruit at the fruit stand. In the orchard a lot of fruits seem to be ripening early this year, including persimmons.  We actually have some of all the varieties of persimmons picked already, even fuyu.  The first few sticks of peeled hachiyas have started drying for hoshigaki, too. 

White pomegranates are also at the fruit stand.  The outside of white pomegranates are creamy yellow (sometimes with a pink blush) and the arils inside are pink, sweet and softer than those of red pomegranate varieties.  Jujube is still being harvested too, so we have both more firm yellow to brown jujube and wrinkling brown jujube. 

Nights and mornings have been cooler and feel more like fall, though it's still been in the 80's during the day. Fortunately, the smoky air from the King forest fire cleared last week.

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now:

  • Asian pears--Shinko, Olympic
  • Persimmons--Maru (chocolate), Nagamaru, Coffee Cake, Fuyu, Hachiya, Vodka-treated Hyakume
  • European pears--D'Anjou 
  • Apples--Granny Smith, Reinette Simirenko, Fuji, Pippin
  • Plums--Casselman
  • Pomegranate--White and Red varieties
  • Quince
  • Jujube
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetables--Tomatillos, red and green Jalapeños, Scotch Bonnet chiles, Shishito peppers
  • Winter squash--Butternut, Kabocha
  • Herbs--Basil, Oregano, Rosemary
  • Hoshigaki--strips and whole
  • Bee products from bees at our orchard--honey, propolis, bee pollen, 100% beeswax candles
  • Jam--The Good Stuff jams made with fruit from our orchard
  • Eggs--Free-range local chicken eggs

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Late Summer, Early Fall

Although it's still hot, it seems like we are transitioning into the early fall now.  At the fruit stand we have late-season peaches, Casselman plums, Asian pears and the beginning of the first  varieties of persimmons.  We also have quince, jujube and the last black mission figs.  For vegetables we still have a lot of various kinds of tomatoes, butternut squash, basil and other herbs.  Free range local eggs, honey from bees at our orchard and jam are available, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fay Elberta peaches & First Asian Pears

At the fruit stand we now have Fay Elberta peaches and some of the first early varieties of Asian pears. There are now lots of tomatoes in various sizes coming in from the gardens, too. 

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

  • Peaches--49'er, Fay Elberta (yellow freestone varieties); Bowen (yellow cling);  Elegant Lady, Babcock, Silver Logan (white freestone varieties)  
  • Plums--Kelsey, Elephant Heart, Mariposa, Santa Rosa, Black Amber, Friar, Laroda, Eldorado, Burgandy, Frontier
  • Pluots--Dapple Dandy, Flavor Queen, Flavor King
  • Vegetables--Tomatoes (regular, cherry, salad, heirlooms), Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumber, Beans, Shallots
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Basil (cut if you ask)  
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard, propolis and bee pollen
  • Free Range Chicken eggs
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Suncrest Peaches and Pluots

We now have three kinds of pluots at our fruit stand.  We have red-speckled Dapple Dandy, yellow and sweet Flavor Queen, and very flavorful Flavor King pluots.  We also have lots of Suncrest and Delight  large yellow peachesSuncrest is a  juicy red-streaked heirloom peach that is difficult to find. Although they are very delicious, Suncrest ripen quickly and are fragile.  

Saving Suncrest peaches and his family farm is the subject of the David Mas Masumoto's book,  Epitaph for a Peach--Four Seasons on My Family Farm.  David Masumoto has written a lot of other good books related to his farm and his family history that are worth reading, too. His latest is a peach cookbook called The Perfect Peach:  Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm.
Here's what's at the fruit stand now:  

  • Peaches--Suncrest, Gene Elberta, Delight (all yellow freestone varieties); White Lady,  Babcock, Silver Logan, Nectar, Sugar Lady, (white freestone varieties)  
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Black Amber, Laroda, Eldorado, Kelsey, Satsuma, Frontier, Elephant Heart, Mariposa,  Late Duarte
  • Pluots--Dapple Dandy, Flavor Queen, Flavor King
  • Vegetables-- Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cucumber 
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Basil (cut from the garden if you ask) 
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard 
  • Free Range Chicken eggs
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lots of Peaches and Plums

We have lots of peaches at the fruit stand now.  The early peach varieties have finished and now we're into the more flavorful mid-summer varieties, like Red Haven, Flavorcrest, Regina and June Pride. Sweet and mild white peaches are being picked now, too.  White peaches varieties now in the fruit stand are Sugar Lady, Nectar, White Lady, and white UFO "donut" peaches. 

This is also the time of year we have many varieties of plums.  We have red-fleshed and sweet frontier and Satsuma, fragrant Santa Rosa, and juicy Black Amber plums.  The last Blenheim apricots have been picked.  Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, basil and other herbs are being harvested from the gardens.  We also have local free-range eggs and local honey from bees at our orchard at the fruit stand. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Santa Rosas and White Nectarines

We now have Santa Rosa Plums at the fruit stand.  Santa Rosas are flavorful and juicy plums that have a memorable, sweet and tangy taste.  The peach varieties we now have are Bon Jour, Sweet Crest, June Crest, Flavor Crest and Regina.  All of these are yellow peaches, but some of the white varieties should be ready by the end of the month.  We do have Jade white nectarines, though.  This year's crop of  Jade has grown well, without a lot of the scarring and other issues we usually see.  We picked some of the first crop of figs was this week, so we now have some in the fruit stand.  The first crop at the beginning of the summer is usually lighter than the second which we expect in August. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fruit Stand Update and Day on the Farm

Here's what's at the Fruit Stand now:

  • Apricots-Blenheim
  • Peaches--May Crest, June Crest
  • Plums--Red Beaut
  • Loquat (Biwa)
  • Citrus Fruit--Valencia Oranges, Eureka Lemons
  • Vegetables--Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Balm
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard
  • Eggs--from local free range chickens
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax
  • Placer County Real Food Cookbook, by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny
June orders for the Sierra Foothills Producers Cooperative should be made online by Thursday, June 12th at 4:00 for delivery during the next week.  Delivery at our orchard will be Friday, June 20th from 3:30 to 4:00 in the afternoon.  There are also other delivery times in Folsom, Penryn, South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach, Tahoe City & Truckee.

This coming Sunday, June 8th, from 10-3 we will be at the Sinclair Family Farm in Penryn for their "Day on the Farm" event. The event will have sheep dog demonstrations, farm animals to visit, wool spinning, a drawing for a freezer lamb, roasted lamb and pork from Sinclair Farm and other vendors from the Producers Cooperative. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March and April Hours

We're changing our fruit stand hours for the months of March and April.  In May we will go back to regular hours.

March & April Hours:
Tues., Wed. Thurs.--11:30-1:30
Fri., Sat., Sun.--10-6
Closed on Mondays

If you would like to come at a different time Tuesday through Thursday you can call us and make an appointment. We are usually around at the orchard but we're only staffing the fruit stand during those hours unless someone calls and arranges an appointment.

At the fruit stand now we have navel oranges, yellow grapefruitblood oranges, lemons, hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) and free-range local eggs. You can also still order hoshigaki from us through mail order.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Special Valentine Hoshigaki Sale

It's Valentine season and we have a sweet deal for our great customers.  Write the SWEETHEART DISCOUNT CODE in the comment box on the mail order form to receive a discount on your order of multiple pounds of hoshigaki to a single address.  This code is good until Feb. 28th, 2014, while supplies last.  Orders will be shipped out no later than March 20, 2014. Progressive discounts apply to a single order. 


1 lb. of hoshigaki ordered is $43.50 
2 lbs. of hoshigaki ordered is $85.50 
3 lbs. of hoshigaki ordered is $125.50 
4 lbs. of hoshigaki ordered is $163.50*
*Add $38.00 for each pound over the 4 lb. price

We are also offering hoshigaki with a firmer texture yet still soft and moist at $35.00 per pound.  This is item DKA on the order form. There is no discount on this item at this time.

Please note:  No shipments will be made Feb. 11 to 20, 2014 (shipping clerk vacation), but keep sending in your orders.  They will be filled when we get back.  Call the orchard (916) 791-1656 if you need special arrangement for Feb. 11 to 20.

Go to our website's hoshigaki/persimmon tab for the order form.  Please double check your math to avoid delays.

We have hoshigaki for sale with special prices for multiple pounds at our fruit stand, too.  If you are able to pick up hoshigaki at our fruit stand, the price is a lot less since we don't have to pack it and ship it out to you.  The fruit stand is open Tues. through Sat. from 9-6, Sun. from 10-5, and closed on Monday. 

Happy Valentines,

Tosh and Chris

Friday, January 24, 2014

Drought in the Orchard

This week in the local Roseville Press Tribune newspaper there is an article about the drought in our area and how it might affect the orchard.  You can read the article here.  Tosh and farmer Eric Hanson of Pine Hill Orchard are interviewed.  

The orchard is very dry and dusty like it's in the middle of the summer. When the dog runs from the garden through the trees she stirs up clouds of dust.  Usually this time of year the orchard floor is green with grass and other plants sprouting up from the rain, but this winter there's very little new plants growing, including weeds even.  It's been difficult to find new spots to move the chicken dome to because there's hardly any new vegetation for the chickens to eat.  

In the orchard lately Tosh has been pulling out any unproductive trees, and trees that haven't shown any new growth. The current plan is to plug up irrigation in those areas and not plant any new trees this year.  Although normally this would be the time of year to be planting new trees, we don't yet know if there will be enough water and how much we'll be able to use. 

In planning the vegetable gardens we are trying to find ways to conserve water, too.  We are thinking of starting certain crops that need more water later than usual, using more garden space for less thirsty crops, using more mulch and planting varieties that are supposed to be more drought tolerant.  We don't start planting the gardens until sometime in March though, and we'll have to wait and see what's happening with water at that time.  Hopefully it will rain. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are now at the fruit stand.  We also have satsuma mandarins, navel oranges, soft and ripe hachiya persimmons, kiwi, quince, hoshigaki, (Japanese hand-dried persimmons), local free-range chicken eggs, homemade jam, cookbooks, the 2014 Master Gardeners calender, propolis and bee pollen from bees at the orchard and firewood.

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