Tuesday, December 5, 2023

APPLES, HOSHIGAKI, AND PERSIMMONS

Now that we've digested the turkey it's time to think about the next holiday season.  Food, gifts, music, dance, and story telling. Gatherings with family and friends.

I am looking forward to all of that but first there is a lot of work to be done.  We are again putting in late hours in the hoshigaki (dry persimmons) drying rooms at night.  It's all worth it when we give that hoshigaki its last massage and can feel its smooth, soft texture under a sugar coated surface.  It doesn't always feel that way, but we try.  Hoshigaki is available at the farm stand.  I am beginning to contact people who reserved premium hoshigaki.  We have begun to send out mail orders that we received in October.  We anticipate having an adequate supply.  People can continue to order.  Normally we are not able to peel fresh persimmons after Thanksgiving because the fruit is too ripe.  This year we are getting an extra week of peeling.  We will probably still be processing hoshigaki in January. You may contact us for on-farm pick-up orders by calling (916) 791-1656 or email at otoworchard@yahoo.com.  For mail orders please use our mail order form

 

There is still ample supply of Fuyu persimmons .  These are the ones that are always sweet and can be eaten hard or soft.  We also have a good supply of Hachiya and Gyombo persimmons.  These are on the firm side and will require you to wait for a week or two for them to soften.  While the chocolate persimmons are scarce this year we have a nice crop of cinnamon persimmons.  These are wonderfully crisp and sweet with  speckled brown flesh.  The cinnamon persimmons are also used to make Vodka persimmons.  We have a good supply of sweetened Vodka persimmons.

 

Many customers are looking for mandarins.  Production is low this year in Placer County.  We will contact other producers to see if there are any available. 


 

 

HOURS:

Tues through Sat  10:00 am to 6 pm 

Sunday  11:00 am to 5:00 pm

CLOSED ON MONDAYS 







Here is what we have at the Farm Stand from Otow Orchard



Hoshigaki:  These are whole dried persimmons.  They were hand massaged while they dried over a period of four to eight weeks.  Some are firm, others are soft and moist.  All are coated with naturally formed white persimmon sugar.  No sugar added and no preservatives used. We began peeling persimmons in October.  The hoshigaki is available in the farm stand. You may contact us for on-farm pick-up orders. (916) 791-1656 or email at otowochard@yahoo.com.  For mail orders please use our mail order form . Mail order shipments do not usually begin until December.

Apples

        Fuji: Known for being sweet juicy and always crisp.

        Granny Smith:  A green sweet tart apple.  Popular pie apple.  Special characteristic is that it stays white after being cut, it does not turn brown after being cut.

        Pink Lady:  Crisp and juicy apple with fantastic balance of sweet and tartness.  The skin is a beautiful pinkish red. Refreshing and very flavorful.  Limited supply.

Asian Pears:  

    Shinko:  Large round pear with brown skin.  Very sweet, crisp, and juicy, a good keeper.  Limited supply.

    Okusankichi:  Large winter Asian pear.  It is a good keeper.  It is sweet with a hint of tartness.  Juicy and crisp. 

Persimmons:

    Hachiya:  Tall acorn-shaped persimmon.  It is astringent until soft and jelly-like. It becomes very sweet soft and delicate. Fresh eating right out of its skin or often used for baking cookies and pudding. Used for making hoshigaki.

    Gyombo:  Tall Acorn-shaped persimmon with grooves down the four sides of the fruit.  Like the Hachiya persimmon, it is astringent until soft and jelly-like.  It becomes very soft, juicy, and sweet.

    Fuyu:  Apple type persimmon. Can be eaten hard and crisp.  These are always sweet and a favorite among our customers and future customers. At this time of year they are hard and crisp.  Later in the season or if held for a period of time they will become more orange-red and the flesh will become tender and sweeter. Used for fresh eating and in salads. Currently being sold by the bag and the box.

    Maru, Chocolate, and Nagamaru:  These are the brown fleshed persimmons.  Back in April when the trees were in bloom, the bees were  buzzing.  If the flower was fully pollinated, seeds would form and give off ethylene gas  to make the flesh brown and sweet.  The problem arises when a flower is only partially pollinated and less than half of the seeds form.  This fruit will be only partially sweet.  It's always a risk.  We recommend cutting the fruit and eating only the brown, sweet flesh. Some varieties will sweeten as they soften.

    Hyakume,(Cinnamon):  This is another brown fleshed persimmon. Often referred to as cinnamon.  When pollinated, Hyakume will be naturally sweet.  When partially pollinated or when it has no pollination, Hyakume will be astringent.  We use the ones we think are mostly astringent to make Vodka persimmons. Persimmons treated with vodka are always sweet. Their flesh may be brown or yellow and may be eaten hard or soft.


Honey 🍯 from bees 🐝 at Otow Orchard. Bee pollen from bees 🐝 at Otow Orchard.

⚘ Calendula  Salve and Lip Balm:  Wonderfully thick salve for healing dry skin, bug bites and scrapes. 

Chili Peppers:   Aji Amareto, Buena Mulata, Jalapenos, ---All limited supply.

Tomatillos:   These look like small green tomatoes in a paper shell.  They can be cooked or eaten raw. You can add them to salads or make them into green salsa.  

 Winter Squash:

    Red Kuri:  Known as a Japanese pumpkins.  These varieties have sweet, thick dry flesh. They can be steamed, baked, roasted, sauteed or added to soups and stews.

    Butternut Squash:    One of the most popular winter squashes because of its generous flesh.  The seeds are contained in the bulbous end and the neck is all flesh.   It has a sweet nutty flavor.  Is can be roasted, steamed, baked  and chopped into soups, stews, casseroles and curries.  Flavor can be savory or sweetened with syrup and butter.  

Quince:  This fruit is firm and seldom eaten raw.  It has a pleasing fragrance which can be preserved by making sauce, jams, jelly, adding it to  apple dishes, and pairing it with pork.  It is a great source for pectin.  Quince must be cooked and cored. It is famously used to make Quince sauce or Doulce de Membrillo, and Quince candy.  For Thanksgiving it is a tradition in our family to add quince to the cranberry sauce. Wow.

Pomegranates:  Sweet White Pomegranates and tart red Wonderful Pomegranates.

English Walnuts:  In the shell.  You have to crack them.


Here is what we have from other producers:

Top O' the Hill Apiary in Granite Bay:   Bees wax 🐝.

La Bella Vito Farm in Loomis is bringing us freshπŸ₯š eggs from pastured πŸ”πŸ”chickens. Production is low.

Kijani Farm in Granite Bay, organic practices:

     Kabocha, Japanese winter squash (pumpkin).  Butternut winter squash

Stoney Point Farm, Organic certified, Loomis, CA:  Hachiya persimmons.

Placer County Master Gardeners:   2024 Gardening Guide and Calendar.  Provides helpful hints throughout your gardening year.  Limited supply.

Lupi Farm  in Granite Bay, no spray:  Quince.

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