Taking a ride in the golf cart from one end of the farm to the other with Farmer Al provides a good snapshot into the myriad things that go on, on any given day, to keep Frog Hollow Farm running. Here’s a little peek into my recent ride with him.
We started off from the farm offices to ride across the orchard to meet Becky at the house for a meeting. First stop was the new packing shed. It was bustling with line packers, forklifts, and our inventory crew, as is typical this time of year. They were packing the Dapple Dandy pluots into clamshells
for a large wholesale order. Farmer Al inspected a few of the clam shells,
all of which held four large pluots. He wasn’t satisfied with the presenta- tion. Though four large pluots weigh the same as 6 small, the four pluots look like less fruit in the packaging he explained. He told Abel, our packing shed manager, to call Magana, our tree team leader, and tell Magana to pick smaller pluots for this order.
From the packing shed we went bumping along one of the dusty farm roads and ran into Dr. Gordon Frankie of the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab. Dr. Frankie was driving back from surveying a section of our habitat plantings. Dr. Frankie leaned out of his car window and the two of them conversed about the needs of the native plants. Frankie and his team were coming out the next day and they needed to repair and refit the emitters on the drip lines to ensure all the plants were receiving sufficient water. A few of the plants weren’t getting enough water due to faulty emitters. Frankie needed to replace a more major water line in another habitat area, as well. For this work Dr. Frankie needed to coordinate and get materials from Virgilio, our ground team leader. Farmer Al said he’d be in communication with Virgilio to make sure all the materials and lines were set to go for Frankie’s team at the agreed upon hour of 10am the next day.
Following our meeting, on our trip back to the farm offices, we drove by some newly acquired acreage and discussed the plan to plant more fall and winter fruit so that our CSA boxes can be filled with Frog Hollow Farm fruit for more of the year. Think kumquats, blood oranges, pomegranates, and apples!
Taking a sharp turn we headed into some peaches. Al checked on the ripe- ness of these to project picking time. He decided some of them were ready for harvest, so off we went to find Magana in the Suncrest peaches, who was picking some of the last of that variety, which has been so delightful this year. Al confirmed with Magana that Abel let him know to pick smaller pluots before they made a harvest plan for the next variety of peaches.
At this point, I was dropped back off at the farm offices before Al went on to locate Virgilio. It’s always an education going on a ride through the orchard with Farmer Al.