November and December are very important months on our farm. Nourishing trees with compost during the winter months is just as imperative as the work we do in the spring and summer months. The fall and winter, however, do provide space for us to dream and try out new things. This winter, Farmer Al is focused on the diversification expansion of Frog Hollow Farm and his dreams are focused on you, our CSA members. He is motivated to diversify and expand our production with hopes that we will be providing you with a year long supply of Frog Hollow fruit.
Diversification and expansion entails a few different things. First and foremost, we want to expand the number of fruits and varieties we are growing. Driving through the orchard, you can see fields where mandarins will soon be planted so that we can offer Frog Hollow mandarins in December, January, February, and March. There is also land set aside for increasing our persimmon production. We hope to grow more fuyus, chocolate, and hachiyas so that our members can enjoy more varieties for a longer period of time. Our warren pears, as mentioned in previous newsletters, were the focus of much concern this fall. We are usually enjoying warren pears into December, but as a result of having to remove a large portion of our trees our crop was much smaller this year. We do believe we can save the trees that are remaining, but we are still planting new trees to replace the trees we had to uproot. Lastly, we will be planting more plums and pluots, like our Emerald Beauts, as they have become increasingly popular among our CSA members.
The next step of our diversification is expanding our CSA program to include more than just fruit. We have begun to offer tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, and ketchup to our members and want to continue to expand. Last year, Farmer Al and his team planted barley for beer and this year his team is focusing on planting heirloom varieties of wheat like Sonora Wheat. Sonora Wheat is a soft white winter wheat and is one of the oldest surviving wheat varieties anywhere in North America. Our plan is to not only grow the wheat, but also store, it to make it into flour, and become bread bakers! Chef Becky and Chef Anna have already started to experiment with flour from Sonora Wheat to make bread, pastries, and even pasta. Our hope is to be able to offer our CSA members flour and delicious bread from the wheat that we grow. Bread is something that people eat on a daily basis and it pairs well with our olive oil. We will begin to plant our wheat this December and are are very excited about the opportunities that will arise for us and for our kitchen.
Our overall goal at Frog Hollow Farm is to bring back the model of early farms. Typical family farms of the 18th and 19th centuries didn’t just grow food, but were the primary makers of food in a community. Our modern day perception of farms has been shaped by industrial factory farming. A typical modern farm focuses on growing one thing, harvests their produce with machines, and sends their harvest off to a processing company to create value added products. This is not how we grew up as a civilization and it is not the model that we at Frog Hollow believe in. We believe that farms should be the places where food is grown, sold, processed, and turned into products that can be stored and eaten throughout the year. We are in the process of gradually recreating this model at Frog Hollow and we thank you for your support in making this happen. Our CSA is imperative to growing and expanding our farm and achieving our dreams. We hope that you all seeing enjoy the beauty of sustainable, family-centered farming through our CSA. Thank you for all of your support.