THIS WEEK’S FRUIT:
Chiechi Farm, Live Oak, CA
The Fuyu has a crisp texture with a rich honey sweet flavor. They have a beautiful orange to red hue when ripe, often with tiny brown speckles on the skin. They can be eaten out of hand with skin on or peeled. To read more about the fine folks at Chiechi please see our previous blog post at http://bit.ly/2gZUvT5.
Chiechi Farm, Live Oak, CA
Originally known as the Chinese gooseberry due to its Chinese origins. Hawyward Wright, a New Zealand nurseryman propagated his plants by grafting, and they eventually became the preferred cultivar of growers due to their sweet flavor and thin skin.
Hamilton Growers, Reedly, CA
Native to the regions of Persia and the Western Himalayan range, pomegranates have been cultivated for several millennia. When sliced open a beautiful array of jewel-like seeds are displayed. The aril is the colorful casing that surrounds the edible seeds and has a sweet tart flavor. Enjoy the arils alone or use them in salads, desserts, or beverages.
Owari Satsuma Mandarins
Abounding Harvest, Los Gatos, CA
Satsumas are typically seedless with a thin skin that is loosely attached to the flesh making them very easy to peel. The flesh of the mandarin is very sweet and delicate leaving them susceptible to bruising, so handle with care. To read more about the fine folks at Abounding Harvest, please see previous blog post at http://bit.ly/2dPH3uI.
Olsen Organics, Lindsay, CA
Clementines are very sweet, juicy, easy to peel, and usually seedless, making them very popular with children and adults alike. Store out of sunlight for 2-4 days on the counter or up to two weeks in the fridge. To read more about Ken Olson, please see previos blog post at http://bit.ly/2grsBOE.
Cuyama Farm, New Cuyama, CA
Fujis are a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet, an heirloom apple dating back to Thomas Jefferson. They are one of the sweetest variety apples around making them a household favorite.
…all varieties are subject to change…
A NOTE FROM FARMER KRISTIN:
This year, our vegetable growing operation is going no till. The rest of Frog Hollow operates without tilling or ever breaking into the ground, so we feel that our veggie operation should be this way as well. Right now, we do very little tractor work on the vegetable parcel, but we do disc the field twice per year to kill the weeds. The new system involves creating permanent, raised beds that are hand weeded and never disturbed. These permanent beds will allow soil structure to develop, and build underground ecosystems that can prosper unharmed by tractor activity. The permanence will also reduce compaction, eventually creating loose, rich soil full of fungal and biological life.
So this week, we got to bed building. We used the “ridger” which creates raised berms for the trees. Then, these berms were shaped by hand using hoes and rakes. Once the beds were created, we top dressed them with our compost, oyster shell flour and sulphur potash. The oyster shell flour is a by-product of oyster farming, and provides calcium and a slew of micronutrients for the plants. The potash provides potassium and sulphur, and makes plants more resilient to drought and pest pressures.
Once the beds were good and ready, we attached the drip irrigation and we planted the first round of winter vegetables. These veggies were germinated in the greenhouse then transplanted into four inch pots, then finally ready to be planted in the ground. This week, we planted cauliflower, broccoli, kale, lettuce, garlic, onions, and more. The timing of the planting was perfect, as it rained the next day. The rains left us with a field that is now too muddy to work, but the plants are in and will benefit from the healthy head start.
Over the coming month, we will finish creating the permanent beds, amending them with compost and setting up irrigation, so that the field is prepped and ready for spring planting of tomatoes and peppers.