Our orchard is small but incredibly diverse. We grow nine varieties of Asian pears, three varieties of European pears, six kinds of apples, nine different types of persimmons, along with cherries, figs, peaches, plums, grapes, kiwis, feijoas, pomegranates, mandarins, clementines, and lemons, all on under five acres.
Click on the links in the Fruit List to the right for info about each fruit's personality.
Harvest begins in late April with our prized Sweetshoot bamboo shoots, followed in May
with Bing and Lambert cherries, and with Feijoa blossoms. Late June brings us the first crop of figs and early plums. In July, more plums, peaches, and the first summer pears arrive. By August, we are in full swing, harvesting lots of sweet figs, Asian pears, and more figs (you have to visit the trees daily
or the birds harvest them for you.) Laurence is making preserves. More pears come in September, along with grapes and the first apples. Figs are still producing, though not as much.
In October, pears draw to a close, the rest of the apples come in, and the first persimmons ripen.
We begin peeling hoshigaki around Halloween. November is peak persimmon season. It is also when we harvest kiwi and feijoa. We continue to peel and massage hoshigaki as fast as we can, and we ship our sweet fuyu and other fresh persimmons. The first satsuma mandarins are ready to ship by Thanksgiving. The leaves begin to turn and fall in colorful rings around the base of the trees.
With December come fragrant clementines, the bulk of the satsumas, still peeling, hanging, and shipping hoshigaki, still picking persimmons. Pruning begins on Christmas day.
Lemons ripen in January, the dead of winter. Laurence makes marmalade.
Pruning continues through the month of January. February is quiet and gives you the impression you are in control. Time to make irrigation and equipment repairs, plant new trees, line up supplies and haul fertilizer. Spring is just around the corner. Mid February, Jeff hangs the first pest monitoring trap
and begins entering weather data and trap catch count into computer models to determine whether there is a pest or disease threat. March, and the buds break. Continue monitoring weather and traps, and hope for sunny weather for the bees. Fruit thinning begins April 1st. Trees always set 90% more fruit than they can support.May. Protect the cherries from birds, bugs, squirrels, deer, and racoons.
Time to start all over again.
The trees are planted with apparent random abandon instead of blocked together by type. It makes them harder to manage, but it turns out to be worthwhile, because it hampers the spread of disease and confuses the pests. It also encourages the broader dispersment of beneficial insects, and provides year-round habitat and food sources for birds, lizards, and frogs. We find that growing different varieties in proximity to each other can also increase flavor.
We especially have noticed this with our persimmons, which are renowned for their sweetness and complexity.
If you are growing fruit trees, you are a long term investor. You select and plant your trees, then you wait five to seven years before you get a first crop.Hopefully the fruit lives up to your hopes. If it doesn't, or the trees don't thrive, you replant and wait another five years. You nurture your soil and the environment, because you are in for the long haul. We keep a quarter acre of timber bamboo where hundreds of birds roost every night, ready to pounce on bugs in the morning. To feed the bees when the trees are not in bloom, we seeded sweet alyssum under the trees, we grow rosemary, lavender, California wildflowers, and we planted the fences with roses and jasmine.
Our goal is to bring you full-flavor from fruit harvested at the peak of ripeness and handled with care. We use Integrated Pest Management techniques to bring you the most flavorful fruit possible while maintaining a healthy environment and nurturing beneficials. The principle: farm in partnership with nature, standing ready to address disease or pest imbalances when necessary, always using the safest effective control.
For more information, please visit our growing practices page.
Click to Buy our fruit