Fruit and News of the Week: August 12th

This Week’s Fruit

O’Henry Peaches

The O’Henry has the flavor, size, and crimson blush that makes for a truly memorable peach. It’s elegantly pointed shape slices to an attractive heart shape for striking presentation. Our O’Henry harvest overlaps briefly–a few days to a week-with our harvest of the Cal Red leading to a matchup of two of our biggest varieties. Stay tuned for more information on our Battle of the Peaches!

Cal Red Peaches 

The beloved Cal Red is in a class by itself and is the “Oh my God” peach! A relatively new variety and a California native, the Cal Red was bred by Uni- versity of California botanist Claron O. Hesse in the mid 1960s. Aptly named for the Golden State, the Cal Red is a beautiful golden peach marked with a gentle, sun-kissed blush.

Summer Fire Nectarines

The Summer Fire has a firm meaty flesh that isn’t as juicy as some of our other varieties but is packed with a red wine intensity that makes it a memorable and desirable nectarine. Often with a deeper reddish hue than the Fantasia, the Summer Fire is a variety that’s worth the extra effort it takes to slice and pit a clingstone: its warm yellow flesh is streaked beautifully with red near the pit.

Flavor King Pluots

A dark-skinned pluot with red flesh, it has an intense rich flavor combined with sweet, spicy tones that are reminiscent of the Santa Rosa. A nice acid bite and firm texture that softens beautifully as the fruit continues to ripen, the Flavor King is amazing out of hand and equally good for baking.

Storage Recommendations

During the summer season, we recommend keeping two – three days worth of fruit out on the counter top and storing the rest in the fridge to be enjoyed later in the week.

A Note From Farmer Al

Peach pit slows down packing line

Dear CSA Members,

Holland has their historical “finger in the dike” to stop the flow of water. This week Frog Hollow Farm had its own history-making moment; “peach pit stops packing line”, shutting down the flow of fruit for half a day sending ripples of repercussions throughout the whole operation.

The day started out like any other, no portents about the ensuing disaster. The rollers were rolling, the dangling gondolas holding empty boxes circled the packing line in its steady rhythm and the turntables slowly twirled the peaches in their respective bays where the packer places it in its assigned box. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t. Suddenly without warning, the entire operation came to a stop. Everyone looked up the prow of our platform to our captain, Freddy for guidance. After trying the usual quick-fixes to our past but luckily, infrequent and brief lapses in motion, it became clear that we had a real problem. Time to go to Plan B…

First, about 20 people on the fruit packing line had to be re-assigned and re-organized to our old packing line that is still used for some functions, like packing your CSA boxes, for example. So, your boxes usually packed first thing Tuesday morning, this week were packed on Monday. Then we ran Flavor King Pluots in clamshells through the line, anything to keep the flow of work moving while we waited for our ready machinists, Abel & Freddy to trouble-shoot the problem. After eliminating fuses and other electrical causes, they determined it absolutely had to be motor failure. So, I called John at Ag Design in Fresno who sold us the equipment and also installed it. “John, can you please bring me a new motor ASAP and install it for me today? We’re at peak harvest and my line is shut down!” I said, in the form of a question but he knew it was sine qua non. He assured me he would come with a motor but first, rattled off 2 or 3 other possibilities that could be the cause of the stoppage. For another half an hour we followed his directives over the phone to no avail. So, John headed to us with a motor and arrived 2 ½ hours later. He went to work examining and probing the problem and I left, to put out another fire feeling relieved to hand this problem over to him, at least for the time being. 20 minutes later, I entered the packing shed to the hum and squeal of the packing line flowing and to John, with a big grin on his face. “Do you want to see what your problem was?”He asked.

We walked over to the end of the roller conveyor and he pointed up under it to the place where a dried up peach pit had been wedged between two roller cylinders, jamming up the entire line of rollers approximately 70 feet long. He explained that this conveyor was designed so that all cylinders must rotate in unison; when one stops because of a blockage, the motor shuts off so as not to burn itself out.

A new motor was not needed and the day was saved by the only person who could have imagined that a peach pit could cause so much trouble.


Signature of Farmer Al

Posted in Newsletter, Uncategorized

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