Fruit and News of the Week: August 5th


O’Henry Peaches

Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA

Farmer Al’s favorite peach to grill, the O’Henry has the flavor, size, and crim- son 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 har- vest overlaps briefly with our harvest of the Cal Red leading to a matchup of two of our biggest varieties. At participating farmers markets, our Battle of the Peaches taste-offs between these two varieties grows more and more popular each year.

Cal Red Peaches

Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood , CA

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.

August Fire Nectarine

Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood , CA

The August Fire is elegantly shaped and rich in flavor, with deep red skin and warm orange flesh.It’s taste and texture bring our nectarine season to a close beautifully.

Flavor King Pluots

Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood , CA

The best pluot variety we grow! 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.

Dapple Dandy Pluots

Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood , CA

Playfully called the “dinosaur egg” pluot, the Dapple Dandy has marbled pink and green skin over delicate white flesh threaded with rose. Kids especially love this pluot for its distinctive coloration and the lack of tartness in the skin.


Dear CSA Members

Is It The Water?

We’re happy to report that for the time being, at least to the end of this season, our irrigation water will not be curtailed. Needless to say, this is a huge relief. In spite of the fact that we have the oldest riparian rights in the state, back in May, we received a letter from our water district saying that we could be cut off as early as June 15th.

When the water district notified its farmers of the possibility of curtailment or shut off, everyone began watering almost continuously, trying to get as much water deep into the ground so the trees would be able to survive long periods without being irrigated. We watered more heavily as well, which is a big departure from how we have irrigated in the past.

We have always believed that stressing the trees produces sweeter fruit and too much water produces watery, not very tasty fruit. This is a common practice; i.e. dry farming, of which our irrigation habits were a modification. The idea behind dry farming is that plants need to produce seeds to pass along their genes and perpetuate their kind. (Remember, all plants do is reproduce, the fact that they sometimes produce delicious things for us to eat is a tasty coincidence). This is the biological imperative; the heavy, seed or fruit production is a reaction to the threatening stress. The plants go into a survival mode and concentrate all their energy into producing fruit to perpetuate its existence instead of focusing on its own growth. In other words, stressed plants put what energy they have left into fruiting or flowering to make baby plants before they can’t. This idea works well for annuals because you would re-plant the following year anyway, but with fruit trees, this is a little trickier; we always have to think about the health of the tree and next year’s crop.

We have been amazed to see after that early, heavier watering, the trees are thriv- ing (not surprising) but that the fruit is sweeter than ever. Is it the extra water? It’s a little more complicated than that. The water probably didn’t go as as deep as it should to support the deep watering theory. Certainly there is more water in the soil but not as far down as needed to sustain trees for extended periods without irrigation. Beside, in this heavy clay soil without significant amendments, the trees won’t be able to take advantage of the extra water. We believe that because of our compost program, which helps the trees uptake nutrients and water from the soil more quickly and efficiently, the trees are healthier and able to create beautiful, tasty fruit and use energy for its growth and next year’s crop.

It doesn’t feel stressed so it can do both. Making our own compost, caring for and enriching the soil is allowing the trees to grow and function optimally. After all, the tree has everything it needs to grow, fight disease and reproduce. Our job as farmers is to create the optimal conditions for that process to take place.

                                                                                                            ~ Chef Becky


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