Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hoshigaki Orders

Obaachan hangs freshly peeled persimmons as Mocha sleeps in the sun.
We're still taking orders for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) through mail order and for pick up at the fruit stand.  If you'd like to order hoshigaki through mail order, print out the mail order form to send to us.  At the fruit stand we have various grades of hoshigaki for sale in different quantities.  If you'd like to pick up more than a few pounds of hoshigaki at the fruit stand, please call us ahead of time and let us know, so we can set it aside for you.  

Please get hoshigaki orders in as soon as possible, since we fill orders as we receive them and supply is limited to what we're able to dry in a season.  We stopped peeling new persimmons this week because most of the hachiya had gotten too soft to peel.  Since we're not able to peel and start any new persimmons for the hoshigaki drying process, the persimmons left drying now make up the end of this year's hoshigaki supply.  In the colder weather, the persimmons take longer to dry, so we expect to be drying these last persimmons at least into the middle of January.  Next year sometime in October we expect to begin the process again.  Also, we have stopped shipping out fresh persimmons through mail order because they are not firm enough to ship without damaging. We are still taking mail orders for mandarins.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mandarins and Fuyu Persimmons

Mandarins are now at the fruit stand.  We have them for sale by the pound and in bags. The season started a bit early this year, but the fruit is sweet and flavorful.  The Mountain Mandarin Festival will take place next week, from Friday, Nov. 20th through Sunday, Nov. 22nd in Auburn at the Gold Country Fairgrounds.  There are lots of different activities and it's a good way to meet and support local farmers.

At the fruit stand we still have lots of fuyu persimmons, also for sale by the pound or by the bag.  Fuyu persimmons are the type that you can eat when they're firm like an apple.  With the weather getting colder lately the fuyu are likely to start softening, so if you like them firm now is a good time to come get them.  When the fuyu become softer (more like a peach texture) we won't be able to sell them by the bag anymore.

Hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) are for sale at the fruit stand.  If you'd like to reserve a large amount of hoghigaki to pick up at the fruit stand, please call us ahead of time.  You can also order hoshigaki through mail order.  Other produce at the fruit stand includes maru (chocolate) persimmons, vodka-treated hyakume persimmons, hachiya and gyombo persimmonsOkusankichi Asian pear, red pomegranates, Granny Smith and Fuji apples and winter squash.  We also have honey from bees at our orchard, The Good Stuff jam and persimmon cookbooks.

Friday, October 30, 2015

So Many Fuyu

Right now there are so many fuyu persimmons at the fruit stand that we are having a sale.  If you buy two large bags, you get one large bag free.  Buy two small bags of fuyu, and get one small bag free. Fuyu persimmons are sweet when they're firm and have the texture of apple.

We still have other types of persimmons, such as hachiya, maru (chocolate), vodka-treated hyakume and early season hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon).  Other fruit at the fruit stand include Asian pears, pomegranates and jujubes.

If you would like to pick up larger amounts of hoshigaki at the fruit stand, please call ahead and we will set it aside for you.  You can also order hoshigaki through mail order by sending us the order form (found under the "hoshigaki/persimmons" tab at the top of the site).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Persimmon Time

Persimmons on the Drying Racks  
We've been very busy at the orchard with persimmon harvest and all aspects of drying persimmons for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon).  Sorting, peeling, hanging, massaging, packing and shipping of persimmons is keeping all of us occupied.  Now is a good time to come and see the hoshigaki drying process.  Visitors are welcome to come to the orchard during the fruit stand's open hours to see the different stages of drying persimmons. Although we are not a "pick your own" operation, people are always welcome to just take a walk and tour the orchard on their own.    

We have lots of fuyu, hachiya and other fresh persimmons for sale at the fruit stand. Firm and sweet fuyus are available by the bag as well as trays of soft hachiya.  We also have maru and nagamaru (chocolate) persimmons, vodka-treated hyakume persimmons.  Other produce at the fruit stand includes Asian pears (shinko and okusankichi varieties), pomegranates (red, white and pink), apples (Granny Smith, Fuji), jujube, winter squash (kabocha, butternut), basil and other herbs. Persimmon cookbooks and the 2016 Placer County Master Gardeners calendar are also for sale.

Some of the first early season hoshigaki is also available in small quantities at the fruit stand.  If you'd like to pick up a larger quantity of hoshigaki it's best to call us and order ahead of time.  To have hoshigaki or fresh fruit delivered through mail order, print out our mail order form and send it to our address with a check.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hoshigaki Mail Orders

Freshly peeled hachiya persimmons drying for hoshigaki.
The new 2015 Hoshigaki 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 mail order form and mail it back to us. You can also order fresh fruit shipments from our orchard using this form. This year our time frame for shipping fresh persimmons has been shortened because the fruit is ripening more quickly due to effects of the drought.

We started peeling the first hachiya persimmons to dry for hoshigaki about two weeks ago.  Peeling is the first step in the hoshigaki drying process.  The hachiyas need to be fully orange, but still hard enough to peel.  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.

Please keep in mind that because of these natural processes and weather variables, orders may take 8 to 10 weeks to ship.  The first hoshigaki for this season has not yet finished drying and we fill orders in the order in which we receive them.  It's important to get your order in as soon as possible, because supplies are limited to what we can dry while the weather allows.  When the persimmons are too soft to peel we must stop drying new ones. Also, this year our supply of persimmons is more limited because of the drought. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


We now have almost every variety of persimmon from the orchard at the fruit stand.  We have fuyu, hachiya, marunagamaru and vodka-treated hyakumeFuyu is a non-astringent variety that is sweet when firm.  Hachiya is a variety that is astringent until it's as soft as jello, but then it's very sweet. 

Maru, nagamaru and hyakume are all pollination varient varieties, meaning that if the fruit was pollinated it will be brown and sweet inside when firm.  If the fruit wasn't pollinated, it will be only orange inside and to eat it you must wait for it to soften to become sweet.  The vodka that we treat the hyakume with takes away any astringency the fruit might have had, so vodka-treated hyakume is always sweet.

Also at the fruit stand we have Asian pears, apples (red delicious, golden delicious, fuji, reinette simerenko, granny smith), pomegranates (white and red), winter squash, tomatillos, sweet and hot peppers and honey.

Izu, Fuyu, Nagamaru, Nishimura Wase, Maru, Hyakume, Hachiya and Gyombo (back to front)

Monday, September 14, 2015


     For us it has been very warm and challenging summer.  The drought continues to impact our growing practices with daily decisions and conversations about water use.  We have been busy cleaning up trees that did not survive the drought.  It is sad for me to see these trees gone since my father planted many of  them 40 or more years ago. They were trees with old wood and tasty fruit but because of their age were weak and decaying for many years.
        As much as we want to hang on to the summer fruits, the season is pushing us into fall. We are still harvesting late season peaches.  These are firm sweet tasty peaches.  Asian Pears and apples are filling our display tables as are peppers and winter squash.  A definite sign of fall is the appearance of early varieties of chocolate persimmons.  Fuyu and hachiya persimmons are starting to show some color on the trees.  Harvest will be sometime in October.

Here's what's at the farm stand now:
Peaches:  Summer Set, Late Alamar
Plums:  Casselman, Elephant Heart
Asian Pears:   Shinko, Yoi, Olympic, Yali
Apples:  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious (Otow Orchard)
               Mutsu, Fuji (Sunnyslope Farm)
Persimmons:  Coffee Cake, Maru, and Nagamaru (also called Tsurunoko or chocolate)
Jujube:  Li
Pomegranates:  white
Vegetables:  Sweet and hot peppers,  limited supply of okra, eggplant and basil
Winter Squash:   Kabocha, Butternut, Delicata
Bee Products:  honey, beeswax candles
Campfire wood

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fruit Stand Update

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

Peaches--Fay Elberta, O'Henry
Plums--Casselman, Kelsey, Elephant Heart, Eldorado, Friar
Figs--Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota
Grapes--Thompson Seedless
Asian Pear--Hosui, Kosui, 20th Century

Tomatoes--Red tomatoes, heirloom, salad size, cherry, tomatillos

Vegetables--Zucchini, summer squash, cucumber,  eggplant,  sweet and hot peppers, okra

Herbs--Basil, oregano
Eggs--Local free-range chicken eggs, duck eggs to order
Bee products--honey, propolis, beeswax candles  (from bees at our orchard)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

White Peaches and Vegetables

We now have white peaches at the fruit stand, and more vegetables as well.  Yellow peaches picked from the orchard are now the more flavorful mid-season varieties like Regina, Flavorcrest and Red Haven.  We also have red-fleshed plums like Satsuma and Frontier.

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

  • Peaches--Yellow varieties (Flavor Crest, Regina, Red Haven, June Pride), white varieties (Sugar Lady, Nectar)
  • Apricots--Blenheim, Patterson
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Frontier, Satsuma, Beauty 
  • Pluots--Flavor Supreme
  • Citrus Fruit--Pink Grapefruit, Valencia Oranges
  • Vegetables--Zucchini and Summer Squash, green and yellow beans, Japanese eggplant, shishito peppers
  • Herbs--Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Balm
  • Honey--from bees at our orchard, propolis also available
  • Eggs--from local free range chickens (and ducks)
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lots of Fruit at the Fruit Stand

We now have lot of different kinds of fruit at the fruit stand.  Here's what we have:

  • Peaches--Flavor Crest, June Crest, Regina, Bon Jour
  • Apricots--Blenheim, Patterson
  • Plums--Santa Rosa, Red Beaut
  • Citrus Fruit--Pink Grapefruit, 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 (and ducks)
  • Beeswax candles--handmade 100% beeswax
If you're looking for plums for making jam, we have lots of hail-marked Santa Rosas that we're selling at a discount.  Call and let us know if  you'd like some set aside to pick up at the fruit stand.

Since the weather is warmer now hoshigaki mail orders have stopped until sometime in September.  We'll announce on the website when we begin again and post a new mail order form.

The fruit stand is open regular hours again.  We're open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00, Sunday from 10:00-5:00 and closed on Monday. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Drip in the orchard (photo by Thomas Polchies)
Today was the first day we turned on the orchard irrigation system. We had put it off until as late as possible in an effort to save water.  In some areas of the orchard we reconfigured the irrigation by draping the mainline tubing through the lower branches of the trees and changing the micro sprinklers to the type of drip emitter in the photo.  In most areas we have the mainline tubing running on the ground along the rows of trees with one circular micro sprinkler placed between the trees. Last year we also changed some areas of the orchard's irrigation to two arc-shaped micro sprinklers between the trees that emitted less water together than one circular emitter.   We plan to monitor the differences in the trees' growth to try to figure out what works best. Last year we used almost 20% less water than the year before and we hope this year we are able to use even less water than last year.  

We started planting the vegetable gardens slowly over the past few weeks.  Now that we no longer have to carry water to the gardens and the weather is warmer we can plant the tomato, pepper and eggplant plant starts that we started from seed in February and March. At the fruit stand we now have yellow grapefruit, pink grapefruit, lemons, hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons), locally made jam and eggs from local chickens.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March and April Hours

 It has been a dry winter and we are already moving into spring.
 Our fruit stand hours for March and April are:
         Tu, Wed, Th  11:30 to 1:30  pm
         Fri, Sat, Sun   10:00 to 6:00 pm
                Closed on Mondays
We will return to our regular hours on May 1st.
 At the fruit stand we are now selling: navel oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, hoshigaki, dehydrated fruit, beeswax candles, and jam  .
We planted peach, plum, jujube, ume, mulberry, persimmon, apple, and cherry trees.  It will be at least three years before they come into production.  The pruning is almost finished and we are working on tweaking our irrigation in hopes of  reducing our water use. 

The orchard is in bloom.  This is a great time to see the pink and white blossoms. By the end of March the blossoms will be replaced by tiny immature fruit vulnerable to freezing temperatures and hail storms. We just have to wait to see what summer brings.

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