Fruit & News of the Week: December 11, 2017

Fruit of the Week:

Pink Lady Apples
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA

Pink Lady is 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 European Pear
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
This is Frog Hollow Farm’s signature pear and for good reason. Too difficult to grow for most farmers to consider it’s never caught on commercially but Farmer Al has never shied away- from putting the time and effort into a fruit that tastes so good. With a classic European texture, very soft and juicy with a silky sweetness that avoids the typical grittiness found in most pears.

Pomegranate
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Native to the regions of Persia and the Western Himalayan range, pomegranates have been cultivated for several millen- nia. 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.

Hayward Kiwi
Chiechi Farm, Live Oak, CA
Originally known as the Chinese gooseberry due to its Chinese origins. Hawyward Wright, a New Zealand nurseryman propa- gated his plants by grafting, and they eventually became the preferred cultivar of growers due to their sweet flavor and thin skin.
Clementines
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.

 

Note from Farmer Al

Dear CSA Members,
We were blessed with a beautiful crop of olives this year and everyone is raving about the quality but getting it to bottle hasn’t been easy. Its a story that illuminates many of the new challenges we are facing in agriculture these days.
During the final days of the olive harvest, we were inspected by a food safety inspector from California Certified Organic Farm- ers (CCOF). She was there to assess our current level of com- pliance under the new Food Safety  Modernization Act (FSMA) which food producers must now learn to deal with. So, she was there to teach us how to identify areas or activities which could be critical contamination hazards, and how to address them by creating written systems of training to help workers avoid these hazards. A friendly critique!
As we stood watching the workers picking olives, she noted that the male workers climbing up the ladders held the legs of the ladders to pull themselves up. The women, however, were grasping the steps of the ladders. This was deemed a hazard in that hands used to pick olives were coming into contact with surfaces which had been contaminated with soil from boots. She then observed that a port-a-potty was positioned within the row of olives that were being picked. This was a “no-no”. Another violation was picking totes making contact with the ground. All this illustrates that the new government regulations are driving up the costs of growing food. Another example is minimum wage laws. Over the next 3-4 years, wages will increase here in California by 40%-50%, a huge impact on farms which still rely on hand labor to get the job done!

And speaking of labor, where is it? We’re already experienc- ing labor shortages caused by Trump’s inflammatory, restrictive remarks about Mexicans. More Mexicans are leaving California than coming in. I really don’t see Americans willing to do this hot, dusty farm work. This year to get our near-record crop of olives picked I had to hire a labor contractor from Stockton to bring in a crew.

We live in a world of rapidly changing technology which is im- proving our lives in many ways. But in the world of agriculture,food is still grown in dirt and still picked by human hands.
Farmer Al

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