Fruit & News of the Week: October 2, 2017

This Week’s Fruit:

Emerald Beaut Plum
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
A freestone plum, the Emerald Beaut is a delicate green that turns golden with a hint of a blush. It has a firmer texture than the Santa Rosa with a crisp almost crunchy mouthfeel. One of our most hardy fruit, the Emerald Beaut just gets sweeter and sweeter without losing texture as it ages.

Red Flame Seedless Grapes
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Enjoy these out of hand or try them in green salads, chicken salads, or fruit salads.

Hosui Asian Pear
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Hosuis are very sweet with a mild pear taste, their round shape and beautiful golden hue make them ideal for presentation! They have a rougher 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.

Fuji Apples
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
This year’s crop of Fujis may not be the prettiest but they are tasty. They are delightfully crisp with a sweet finish. Small sized fruit make them perfect for packed lunches.

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. It has a classic European texture, very soft and juicy with a silky sweetness that avoids the typical grittiness found in most pears.

 

A Note from Rachel:

Dear CSA Members,
The term “weed” is not a defined category of plants that all share some botanical similarity. Actually, what determines a plant’s weediness is its desirability in a certain setting. J.M. Torell defines a weed as “a plant that interferes with management objectives for a given area of land at a given point in time.” This means that the same plant which is valuable in one setting can also be considered a weed in a totally different context.

For example, at the cemetery next door, bermudagrass is planted as the perfect groundcover – the grass establishes quickly and stays short. However, when we walk through our Warren Pear orchard and see huge carpets of bermudagrass creeping in, we worry about it sucking up our water and fertilizer.

In an organic orchard, you are never going to get rid ofall the plants in your understory, nor would you want to (bare ground is the #1 way to kill all life in your soil)! What you can do, however, is attempt to understand the properties of each plant and promote the growth of those which align with your management objectives. Last week, I took a walk out to our newly planted apricot orchard to check out the young  trees. I was delighted to see that while our ground team had weed whacked most of the “weeds” on the burms, they had intentionally left behind tall stands of a beautiful yellow Asteraceae flower, Verbesina encelioides, (Golden Crownbeard) – which was covered with tons of native bees as well as butterflies and dragonflies!

Obviously our #1 goal is to grow delicious fruit, but we also want to promote soil health and biodiversity of birds and beneficial insects (which primarily inhabit ground cover). So, if we can identify which plants may be more on the “weed” spectrum and which may offer ecological benefits to our system (like the Golden Crownbeard), we can better manage our land.

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