Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Citrus is On!

Our Algerian Mandarins are ripe. We harvested 150# of them this week for The Penny Ice Creamery. Algerian is the classic "Clementine," and it's taste and texture remind me of my childhood. We also sold The Penny a case of Bergamots. I've got my fingers crossed for an Earl Grey Bergamot Ice Cream.

We still have Buddha's Hand Citrons in season. They are terrific as candy or jam. They are available for both local pickup and mail order. Please contact us if you're interested.

In other news, our ducks are now three weeks old. They have progressed from their starter feed to their grower feed and are putting on feathers through their fuzz. We let them out for longer stretches each day under the watchful eye of Sartaj. They are still quite vulnerable to hawk and cat predation. As their "peeps" turn to "quacks" the later should be deterred.

Our baby koi pond is teaming with California Coast Range Newts (Taricha torosa torosa), as it does every year at this time. I just looked into their historical biogeography and found the following on Amphibiaweb: "Based primarily on mitochondrial DNA evidence, [Tan and Wake (1995)] propose that Coast Range newts and Sierra newts differentiated about 8 million yr ago (mya), when Sierra newts existed in the uplifting central Sierra Nevada, and Coast Range newts inhabited the present day San Diego area. Roughly 5 mya, Coast Range newts expanded their distribution north to Monterey, while Sierra newts spread north and south in the Sierra Nevada. Only relatively recently, after the central California inland sea subsided, did Coast Range newts expand north of Monterey to their current distribution." I also learned that they live up to 20 years and have a strong homing instinct to return to the same places to mate each winter, in one study from over two miles away! It's very cool to think we may be observing the same animals year after year.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Satsumas & Pie

It was a truly wonderful weekend on the farm: 72 and sunny every day. The Narcissus are in bloom, and all of the spring bulbs are pushing.

We moved our 2 week old ducks out to their coop. They had outgrown the brooder we had set up in our living room. They are too small to turn out unattended on account of the cats and hawks, but we take them out to graze every day.

Yesterday they joined us on the Citrus Slope, as we harvested 450# of Owari Satsuma mandarins for New Leaf Community Markets. They are currently available at their Westside and Capitola locations.

Today we made a pie with pumpkins from our stash and ate it with The Penny's riff on our kiwis. It is divine, as is the Meyer Lemon Poppyseed made with our lemons that's also currently available! Yuzu and Owari Satsuma flavors coming soon...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Darling Ducklings

We've had the ducklings out on the lawn the past couple of days. They were quite unsure of themselves at first, but were splashing happily by the end of their session today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Week, Another Harvest...

If you're in Santa Cruz and looking for dessert, you picked a good week. We delivered a case each of Buddha's Hand Citrons and Yuzus to Ristorante Avanti today. The Penny is fashioning a Yuzu flavored ice cream as well. They are also working their magic on a couple of cases of Owari Satstuma Mandarins. The scoop is that last week's kiwi ice cream is off the hook too. It should be in the bins by next week or so. In addition, be sure to ask for fresh Meyer Lemon lemonade and keep an eye out for our Bearss Limes if you visit The Picnic Basket when they re-open this weekend. 

In other news, it's been cold and dry around here lately. An arctic blast brought us lows of 34 degrees a couple of nights ago. Brrrrrrrr deluxe, but we're grateful that there was no damage to fruit or trees. Psyched to get back to the mid-60's by the weekend. Our ducklings have doubled in size over the past 7 days. We had to replace all of the shavings in their brooder this morning because they went a bit bonkers and repeatedly toppled and dumped their quart sized waterer last night. We stepped them up to the two gallon waterer after the renovations.

Fuzzy and warm thoughts to all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Colors of Fall & Winter

Our fall flew past in a blur of orange leaves and orange persimmon pulp.  Winter's rains (27.88" to date) have brought us bumper crops of citrus.  We harvested two cases of Hayward Kiwis and the season's first case of Meyer Lemons for the Penny today.  Our mandarin harvest begins next week with the Owari Satsumas.

We also picked up a half dozen, downy yellow, day-old Pekin ducklings from Metzer Farms this afternoon.  The sounds of their sweet 'peeps', pecks and fluttering are filling our living room as I type.  It's hard to believe these tiny balls of fuzz will be laying large, white eggs by Summer Solstice!

Wishing everyone a Bountiful and Blissful 2013!