Fruit & News of the Week: July 7, 2017

Fruit of the Week

Suncrest Peaches
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
A Slow Food Ark heritage variety, the Suncrest has all the old-fashioned taste of days gone by. Its a truly memorable peach whose firm but juicy flesh provides a real eat-over-the-sink experience. Gently tapered, the Suncrest has hardly any blush to speak of on its rich yellow skin. A more fragile variety, the Suncrest bruises easily when picked, but as many of our farmers market customers know, a picking bruise mean the fruit is extra delicious.

Ruby Grande Nectarines
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
The Ruby Diamond is our best early-season nectarine in Farmer Al’s opinion. It’s a brilliantly crimson free- stone with a very good eating quality. Juicy and firm it has the perfect blend of tangy and sweet that nectarine fans love.

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.

…all varieties are subject to change…

 

A Note from Rachel

Dear CSA Members,

Last Friday, we were delighted to give TomKat Ranch staff a tour of our farm. The group consisted of TomKat’s Food Advocacy Director, Kathy Webster, and their four enthusiastic interns who traded their foggy 70°F coastline for a day in our 106°F dry heat!

We began the morning by visiting Christophe, our microbiologist/composter extraordinaire. As we watched truckloads of horse manure and shredded cardboard being constructed into new worm beds, he explained the differences between heat-driven (thermophilic) and worm-driven (vermicompost) compost, feedstocks, and compost-tea. This was of particular interest to the Tomkat Ranch staff, as they are also experimenting with rangeland compost application to increase carbon sequestration in soils. We had the chance to discuss the similarities and differences in our approaches.

Next, we gathered around a table under 15 year old Red Top peach trees with our education coordinator, Kristin, and Farmer Al. We tasted a variety of freshly picked fruit as well as conserves, dried fruit and pastries from our kitchen. While tasting, we discussed Frog Hollow’s orchard management, from pruning style, integrated pest management and irrigation efficiency, to detailed record keeping systems. We also covered Frog Hollow’s agroecological practices, such as residue management (leaving mowing residues on the ground to keep the soil cool, reduce evaporation losses and increase biological decomposition and nutrient-cycling) and improving the farm’s climate change resilience through increased crop diversity (mulberries, avocados).

Naturally, this group of young farmers was eager to hear Farmer Al’s story. He described his discovery of farming as a 28-year old city boy who moved to Hawaii and started a small papaya farm with his friend, Bill. Al and Bill started their farm “in 2 hours”– from the moment of conception, when Bill first presented the idea to Al, to the moment of execution, when they cut open papayas from the market and planted the seeds in Dixie cups… “You can only do that when you’re in your twenties. When you get older, you are a lot more cautious and think about all the things that might go wrong. When you’re young, you just do it.”

Thank you for the visit-swap, TomKat! We were inspired by your work and challenged by your thought-provoking questions. It feels great to be connected to members of the agricultural community who are producing good food while simultaneously healing our land.

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