Fruit & News of the Week: June 5th 2017

Fruit of the Week

Stella Cherries
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Stella cherries are dark almost to the point of being black and slightly smaller than the big, bold Bing.These are the last variety of cherry for the season.

Crimson Lady Peaches
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
The Crimson Lady is the first peach variety off the tree at Frog Hollow. It has a firm texture that is more springy than meltingly juicy. It’s sweet with little acid making it a real favorite with the kids. The Crimson Ladies are one of our favorite peaches to dry. Look for them in another month in the add-ons section to taste how uniquely chewy and delicious they are in their dried form.

June Glo Nectarine
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
An early season, yellow fleshed nectarine that is semi-freestone and full of flavor, by plant renowned plant breeder Flyod Zaiger.

Goldensweet Apricots
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
At long last our Goldensweets have arrived. They are a smaller apricot that makes up for whatever it lacks in size with its rich flavor. Though we may bake pastries featuring other varieties, the Goldensweet is our variety of choice for our best-selling apricot conserve. Another California born and bred variety, it has a brilliant golden orange skin with a soft blush.

Fuji Apples
Cuyama, 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.

Pixie Tangerines
Churchill Orchards, Ojai, CA
A specialty of the Ojai Valley these little fruit are everything a tangerine should be, sweet and bright. A fond farewell until next season!


* all varieties subject to change *

A Note from Farmer Al

Dear CSA Members,

The Goldensweets are ready. This morning I drove through our main block of them (about 6 acres) and was seeing fruit on the ground, a sure sign it’s time to start picking.

As you all know, our apricots were hit hard by a winter storm just as the trees were in full bloom in the early varieties. However, the Goldensweet trees weren’t in full bloom quite yet and so the damage wasn’t a 100% loss as in the earlier varieties. So, I’m driving up and down each row to assess the loss. Now that the tree fruit is coloring up, I can see just how much of it there is on each tree. After driving up and down several rows, I begin to notice a pattern. Almost all of the fruit is high up in the tree, and there’s almost no fruit on the lower branches.

Then, I remember that this year the grass on the orchard floor was really tall due to all the rain this winter; the rain also kept the ground really wet and soft so that made it impossible to get in with the tractor to mow. So, here’s what I think happened to our crop.

1. Tall Grass holds a lot of moisture above ground for hours or even days, making the air 100% saturated with moisture.

2. Tall grass also restricts air flow, so moisture around the fruitblossoms is retained: a recipe for brown-rot.

3. The upper branches are above the moisture level and get more airflow, thus drying out quickly and avoiding the deadly brow-rot fungus.

The lesson for the future: keep the grass in all apricot orchards mowed down, especially just before full bloom in mid-February.

The larger lesson: There are relationships in Nature that we must always be aware of. For the fruit farmer, it’s the relationship of water, air and sunlight. But it’s those unseen relationships between microbes and plant health that we mustcontinue to explore.

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