Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Absolute Nirvana



Our Buddha Hand Citrons are making quite a splash on the cocktail menu at Ristorante Avanti these days. Be sure to ask for "Nirvana" to get a taste!!

After a big Halloween run, another hundred pounds of Persian Banana Pumpkins are available in ice cream form at The Penny Ice Creamery. They bought in more Fuyu persimmons as well.

And Happy Child CSA members can look forward to some of the most beautiful pomegranates we've ever grown in their boxes next week. We cut the water off on them over a month ago, and they have ripened perfectly!!

On the citrus front, it's looking to be a BIG year! Everything set early last year due to the balmy "winter" we had, so lemons and mandarins are months ahead of schedule.

Other than that, we've finished splitting wood and tuning our generator. Now we await El Niño and his magic! We're up to 2.53" on the rain gauge year to date. Our thirsty landscaping has truly appreciated the drink and is rewarding us--and the bees--with beautiful flowers! The above slideshow is definitely worth putting into full screen (box of arrows in bottom right hand corner)!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Golden Fruit and Liquid Gold

We harvested the first round of absolutely beautiful Fuyu Persimmons this morning. The exciting part of the story is that all happened in the middle of a riotous downpour!

We finally had the first bands of rain in a long, long while drop down over us from the Gulf of Alaska. The rain gauge reads 1.18" on the day, 1.52" on the year! Our irrigation systems are 100% shut down at this point. Hopefully more rain follows soon, and they can stay that way...

p.s.--> My new favorite weather website is windyty. I have added it to the weather links in the right-hand sidebar of this page.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tastes of Fall



The days are growing short on the farm; we wake before the sun and go to bed well after it. Watermelons and grapes are long gone. Our lavender received its winter haircut last week. Honey is coming out of the bee hives on Friday.

Half of our Persian Banana Pumpkins (~200 lbs) were turned to ice cream by the confectionery wizards at The Penny in time for Halloween. They are receiving cases of Fuyu persimmons next week. A case of early ripening Buddha Hand Citrons are in the mix at Ristorante Avanti. The first load of "Wonderful" Pomegranates went out to Happy Child CSA today.

On the water front, we're still squeaking by on the wells. We continue to take things offline though the rain has yet to come... Our spring is still going strong however, and the water hauling continues.

Here's hoping El Niño doesn't let us down! May your days be bountiful, blissful and beautiful!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weather Report Suite

Guacamole days are here at last!
Drought and global warming considered, we've actually had a fairly mellow summer to date temperature-wise. The few super high pressure systems have been relatively short-lived, and, even more miraculously, they are being disrupted by monsoonal flows from the south... not that we're getting measurable rain out of them, but hopefully a sign that El Niño is indeed on his way.

Currently we're sitting at 65, down from 91 this afternoon, thanks to strong onshore flow this evening. It's nights like this that I truly appreciate the marine influence on our Mediterranean climate. That said, Mr. Weatherman has teed up a solid 97˚ for tomorrow afternoon... ouch.

Fortunately, we are as prepared for it as we can be at this point. The true blessing of our summer thus far is the revival of our spring. The spring was this property's primary water source before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the epicenter of which was ~5 miles away.

After the temblor, it gushed and then went dry for long enough that a proper well was installed. Despite the dry years we've experienced of late, the spring has steadily flowed at approximately .5 gpm from the dry face of a sandstone wall via its 1.5" galvanized pipe throughout the 10 years we've owned this property.

It wasn't until this June, however, that I threaded the pipe and reconnected it to the 1100 gallon tank that sat abandoned in our woods. This allows me to haul 1-3 loads/day in a 275 gallon fertilizer tote to supplement our groundwater supply. Without this additional water, we would be looking at much drier trees, more vulnerable to sun scald from tomorrow's heat blast, since we're still operating on full-paranoia as far as well water is concerned.

It's definitely water the hard way, but water is water, and we are truly grateful! Our trees are grateful too and are rewarding our efforts with abundant crops, like the fatty Lamb Hass avocados pictured above! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sweet Smells of Spring

The farm has ascended to Spring's higher olfactory plain. Buds have burst, and the intoxicating scents of citrus blossoms, wisteria and jasmine are omnipresent. Their hues have superseded the dank smells of moist earth and freshly mowed grass, which dominated at the beginning of the month. With only a bit more rain (28.16" ytd), our citrus harvest has powered on unimpeded. At this point, only the Encore mandarins still hang on the trees. They can be seen in this year's panorama of the citrus slope. One of the most exciting developments this spring is that our trees are finally also enjoying a vegetarian diet. I have long been disturbed by the pillaging of the oceans that goes into the production of fish emulsion. This year we made the switch to California Organic Fertilizer's Phytamin Plant Extract 3-3-2. So far, the growth response to it is quite impressive! ...not to mention that it doesn't ruin your day if you spill a bit on yourself!! Here's hoping for a few more warm, wet bands of low pressure before the heat returns in earnest, but in the meantime, the spring shines on!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Buckets of Citrus



Following a pre-holiday squall that bumped our rain total up to 21.68", we've been high and dry here for the past few weeks. While much more rain would be greatly appreciated, the balmy weather has certainly expedited our citrus harvest...

Over a ton of fruit went out the door today, and we are planning for the same next week too. So far we have harvested the Owari Satsuma mandarins, "Clementine" Algerian Tangerines, and Page Tangelo-Mandarin Hybrids. Next up: Tango Mandarins, Gold Nugget Mandarins and finally Encore. We've also got Washington Navel Oranges, Moro Blood Oranges, and Cara Cara Navel Oranges on deck.

On the lemon front, we're halfway through our Meyer lemon harvest and are on track to clear 3000# this year with them alone. Visit Frog Hollow Farm's online store to have a taste.

We shipped our last three cases of Buddha Hands this year to the Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado. Yuzus, Bergamots and Hayward Kiwis are now sold out as well. You can hunt down those flavors while supporting our local chefs at Assembly, Ristoranti Avanti and The Penny Ice Creamery.

Harvest on and pray for rain!