Harvesting crew expands

Our harvesting crew is expanding:

Here is little Evelina helping pick some figs:

And also some carrots!

She's doing well in her training - with lots of different fruits and vegetables to chose.....carrots, apples, tomatoes, pears, grapes, figs,....and also some stones to add to the pot!

Its a busy week this week as we have started our grape harvest.  The Godello (white) grapes were picked at 3am yesterday - in the dark!  This is our newest grape - a Spanish white variety that no one else is growing in California.  Our first vintage from last year's crop is being bottled now, so we'll soon be able to taste it.

We will pick our one ton of Merlot for our own wine tomorrow at the much more reasonable hour of 8am!  We are picking it ourselves with some friends and family.  It's always such a lovely day.  Picking a ton isn't too much work and then we all sit down together for a harvest breakfast.

Our main harvest (20+ tons) isn't scheduled yet as it is being bought by Jackson Family Farms (of Kendall Jackson etc) and they will decide when they want it.

With her own little bucket!
What are you harvesting this week?

August harvest - green pears and apples

This week's harvest is the green pear tree and the first of the apple trees. We first finished off gathering the red pears as we'd left a few smaller ones a couple of weeks ago.  They were so large now -  some pears were over 1lb in weight EACH! Monsters.   One pear can feed a family of 4!

We were hoping the green pears would wait a little while, but no. They were ready so they are now stuffed in the fridge for their big chill, along with all the red ones! It's pretty crowded in our fridges right now!

And yet the apples are ready too, so we picked one tree only...but the others need doing probably this week as well.  Yummy green apples that I am eating every day - but also have got our my trusty dehydrator so that is busy at work with the apples, before the next tree delivers!

Nothing goes on the apples.  Just slice them with the mandolin and dehydrate for a few hours at 115 degrees F, to retain all the nutrients.  No need to core or peel - and that way you even get a little star in the middle where the pips were  *  Nice decorative touch, don't you think?

It's a busy time of year :-D

August's harvest: Pears

Today we harvested about 3/4 of our large red pears.  They each weigh about 300g (12 oz) and we picked loads.  Sadly, we don't know precisely what variety they are - but think they are a red comice sport. Red sports were first discovered in the 1900's in Oregon.  A "sport" is a naturally occurring transformation that develops occasionally on fruit trees.  It's shape really isn't very traditional pear shaped - more round with no real neck and it starts out as a dark, dark red. When the fruit is young, its nearly black in color, but it does go lighter as it grows and then ripens.

As with all pears, it is best not to let them ripen on the tree, as if left on the tree, they ripen from the inside out for the center is mushy by the time the outside flesh is ready.  So these pears have gone into our "fruit" fridge in the garage.

To tell if a pear is mature enough to pick, the rule of thumb is that, while still on the tree, if you lift the pear to a horizontal position from the usual vertical hanging position, the stem will detach if it is ready, but won't if it needs longer.  (This does not apply to Bosc pears however, which are difficult to detach from the tree, ripen or unripe).

Once picked, pears need to be cooled.  Some varieties need only a day or two in the fridge (Bartlett), but others (Anjou, Bosc, Comice) need 2 - 6 weeks for optimal ripening.  Without this chilling, picked pears will just sit and sit and eventually decompose without ripening.

What ever variety ours are, they need a few weeks to ripen.

After their chill, the pears need to be at room temperature for 4 - 7 days, depending on the variety to complete their ripening.  The longer they've spent chilled, the less time they need at room temperature.

By the time our family arrive in a month, these should all be perfect!  Let's hope they like pears :-D  These are the juiciest, tastiest pears!

We still have to pick our other pear tree...maybe we can wait a couple of days for that.  Pears anyone?

Everything is tickety-boo

Another week, and another bunch of things that made me feel that life is tickety-boo:

(Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free) Apple Kisses

  • experimenting in the kitchen and having some successes!
  • trying out fruit flours along with my other alternative gluten free flours
  • having a friend come up and stay
  • lunch out and laughing with a friend
  • getting a new camera
  • moving furniture around and it feels so different
  • teaching a family (mum and 2 daughters) how to make jewelry :-D
  • having so many people sign-up straight away for my "food as medicine" groups
  • hearing my nephew did well in his exams - a different nephew from the one I mentioned last week!
  • having 2 bright nephews!
  • picking loads of apples and dehydrating some
  • picking pears
  • eating all this home grown food - cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, pears......
UTO (Unidentified tomato object) 
Hope you've had a tickety-boo week, with lots of yummy healthy food.