Figs (Origin and History) these are a really versatile fruit. Figs are one of the earliest tree crops propagated by people. They’ve been cultivated by cultures on every continent for centuries. They have good amounts of calcium and magnesium. They great on salads, pair beautifully with goat cheese and balsamic, and are very popular grilled. Fig jam or spread is also very adaptaptable, great on sweet desserts or savory meats. We grow both Yellow Calimyrna figs and Black Missions.
Pears (Origin and History)We have a handful of pear trees most of the them Asian varieties. Crisp white flesh and the sweet taste of honey make these fruits a popular fall favorite. People often don’t think of dehydrating Asian pears but once you try them you’ll make it a priority.
Poached Asian Pears
Duke Avocados (Duke Avocado History) are an extremely rare variety of avocado was brought to northern California because it would avoid the frost season. These avocados set flower in late spring and have ripe mature fruit around October. The fruit is about the same size as a Hass only slightly more elongated. The duke has a thin smooth skin and extremely creamy flesh. This is not a watery or waxy avocado but rather a rich delicate avocado with high fat content. It makes mouthwatering guacamole. In fact the duke’s skin is so thin you can bite right through it like an apple and eat the skin and all. Or when making guacamole, cut the avocado in half, pit it, and throw both halves in the blender skin and all. The finished product will look like you have cilantro in your guac. The last thing people will suspect is that it’s actually the skin. These fruits were very popular until around the 50’s when Hass over took them in popularity. Some say Hass is actually inferior in quality when compared to the Duke, but that with the Hass having thicker skin it could ship better in world that was just evolving into a regional and national food distribution system. Duke has a very hardy resistant rootstock and eventually it became more known for that then for it’s amazing fruit. As one of it’s earliest northern California growers Del Chaffin had a lot to do with this avocados development in the states at all. At our peak we had about 240 Duke Avocado trees. Today, with only a couple dozen 60+ year old trees, I believe we are actually the last farm in North America, quite possibly the world, growing this special variety.
Pomegranates (Origin and History) Another ancient fruit, These crimson beauties, adorn many Thanksgiving tables. Put your kids in some play clothes and watch them spend hours meticulously picking out each red jewel and eating them one by one. If you’re worried about staining your hands you can peel them under water in a bowl. If any of the seeds break open the red juice will dilute in the water. As you pull out each kernel they’ll sink to the bottom of the bowl while the bitter white pith will float to the top. Pomegranates have near spectacular shelf life. I’ve had customers tell me they’ve kept them for up to a year in the fridge before.
Persimmons (Origin and History) Persimmons have also been known to adorn a holiday centerpiece or two. Many people though don’t know them for anything other than decorations or persimmon cookies and they’re missing a whole world of flavor. We grow two types of persimmons.
The traditional Hachiya is the one most people are familiar with. It’s loaded with tannins and consequently rather astringent. Cold weather encourages the fruit to ripen and eventually lose much of that astringency. In California, even though the trees thrive here, we don’t usually get hard enough freezes to really allow the Hachiyas to sweeten up. We recommend putting the mature fruit in the freezer, letting it freeze solid, and then thawing it on the counter top. The fruit will become soft, gooey, and sweet like honey. It can be eaten this way or used in baked goods.
We also grow Fuyu Persimmons which are a variety which over time had the astringency bred out of them. They an entirely different experience. They’re crisp like an apple and sweet right off the tree. They’re flat and round, kind of shaped like a pumpkin. When you bit into them you’ll love their sweetness. Fuyu’s taste like a mixture of vanilla, honey, and cinnamon all wrapped into one crisp slice. You can enjoy them raw, in seasonal green or fruit salads, with soft cheeses, paired with pomegranates, etc.