Fruit & News of the Week: September 19th

THIS WEEK’S FRUIT: 

Flavor Rich Pluots
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
A small pluot about the size of golf ball with deep purple skin and a golden flesh that has an excellent balance of acidity and sweetness.

Hosui Asian Pears
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Hosuis have a rougher, thicker skin than the other Asian pear varieties we grow. They have a flesh that while still crunchy has a more melting mouthful, making the texture combination when eaten out of hand spectacular. Very sweet with a mild pear taste, their round shape and beautiful golden hue make them ideal for presentation with a distinctively Autumnal feel.

Shinseiki Asian Pears
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
The Shinseiki is medium-sized pear with smooth yellow skin. They’re nicely crisp with a sweet white flesh that’s refreshingly juicy.

Pink Lady Apples
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Pink Lady’s are a cross between the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. They are a crisp and juicy apple with a tart finish. Pink skins and a creamy white colored flesh that resists browning make this an excellent apple for salads and slicing.

Warren Pears
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Featured in Martha Stewart Living and Oprah’s Favorite Things List, this is Frog Hollow Farm’s signature pear and for good reason. The Warren pear has a classic European texture – very soft and juicy – with a silky sweetness that avoids the typical grittiness found in most varieties.

Red Flame Grapes
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
With a firm texture outside and a juicy springing bite, these sweetly flavored grapes are a delight.

….all varieties are subject to change…

A NOTE FROM FARMER AL:

Dear CSA Members,

The Warren Pear puzzle gets more complex. I’ve been planting Warren pears since 1993. During that time, I have planted them on a variety of rootstocks from several different nurseries. I’ve even grafted them onto Asian pears and I’ve re-planted Warrens everywhere. If my records were better organized I could begin to piece the puzzle together more quickly…data rules! That’s easy to say in hindsight.

One piece of the puzzle is clear. If Warrens are grafted onto vigorous rootstock like Betulafolia or Old Home Farmingdale (#97 or # 87) they become outrageously vigorous and if not pruned severely every year, they will “shade out”. “Shade out” means that there is so much dense growth of branches and leaves throughout the center of the tree, that sunlight does not get to the fruit buds, which then do not develop into fruit. The entire tree goes “vegetative” and therefore bears almost no fruit.

Of the four blocks of Warren pear trees we have, three of them have gotten into that state. So over the last several weeks we’ve been doing some very heavy pruning to open up the middles and restore that open vase structure. This means literally pruning with chainsaws. It took three men on chainsaws, and crew leader Magana directing all traffic and telling them which branches to cut. Ten more men dragged these massive branches 10-12 ft long, out of the orchard to the shredder, where every branch was shredded into fine particles to be made into compost.

To me it was great to see the transformation happen so fast and with such great teamwork and efficiency by my crew.

Now, we wait until next Spring to see if it worked.

All the best,

Farmer Al

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