Fruit & News of the Week: November 10th, 2017

This Week’s Fruit

Shinko Asian Pear
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
The Shinko has a round shape which is slightly flattened. The skin is bronze with brown russeting and its juicy, creamy white flesh has a subtly rich flavor. One of the last pears to pick, it comes of the tree with a butterscotch note to its sweetness.

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.

Gala Apples
Cuyama Farm, New Cuyama, CA
Gala apples have a yellow to orange skin, highlighted with pink
to red stripes that vary. Their dense flesh is creamy yellow and
crisp, ofering a mildly sweet flavor and flora aroma.

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 efort 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.

Fuyu Persimmon
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, 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.

 

A Note from Rachel

Olive harvest 2017 is in full swing! During the weeks leading up to harvest, the farm was in fall clean-up mode; the tree team in a rhythm of pruning apricot trees and the ground team finishing up the final irrigations
for the year. Since olive harvest is an “all hands on deck” event, it was an energetic transition for everyone. The day before first pick, Farmer Al and I unearthed picking belts and even ordered more for our growing crew. Our packing shed team power-washed the macrobins, now freed up from pear harvest, to prepare them for olive harvest.
Just like all our fruit harvests this year, olive harvest began 2 weeks later than in 2016, from October 12th last year to the 26th this year. Our crew of about 30 people harvest entirely by hand, covering their gloves
in duct tape and running their hands along the long branches to strip the fruit from them. When the trees are so tall that the olives are hard to reach, they will simultaneously prune the branches and harvest the fruit from the fallen limbs. Each person picks olives into picking totes, which are then weighed in-field and dumped into a collective macrobin. This system allows us to keep detailed harvest records, and adds a little competitive edge to the process!

Here are some numbers that may blow your mind: one picking tote holds 30-40 pounds of fresh olives (depending on the ripeness and water content of the fruit) and about 60 pounds of fresh olives yield 1 gallon of olive oil. It’s crazy to think that 1 entire picking tote of olives went into my 1/2 gallon bottle of Frog Hollow Olio Nuovo! Our 400 olive trees (2 acres) do not comprise a single orchard, but actually line the borders of various other orchard blocks on the farm, serving as windbreaks and edge habitat for beneficial wildlife. This year Farmer Al and Magaña (the head of our picking team) decided to start harvest on the trees lining our northwestern apple orchard, as these olives were ripest. Interestingly, when I looked back at our records, we actually ended the 19th day of olive harvest in this location last year. For some reason these olives ripened much sooner this year than last… and the trees were more productive! Last
year, we we harvested about 13 macrobins (7,800 lbs) from this 0.15-acre strip and this year we picked 15 bins (9,000 lbs)! When I talked to Farmer Al about reasons for this increase, he emphasized the “orchestration of factors” – weather, microclimate, tree variety, soil type, management – that cause diferent blocks to ripen at diferent times each year… There is no one factor that we can credit for this increase in yield, but we will keep a close eye on the trends in other areas on the farm as harvest continues!

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