She thinks for a moment and then turns and walks to the plant. She tilts her head to one side and leans her Minnie Mouse ears into the leaves. She pulls her head out, blinks loudly and looks disappointed. "The pwant sez no Cwiss." She calls to me. "But maybwe dis' won wants swome." She starts walking around interviewing plants to see if they are thirsty.
What my niece doesn't know is that stone fruit farmers, much like her except without the pink mouse ears, are doing the same thing with their summer fruit trees as they prepare for the fall and winter's sleep. They are asking them if they would like a little water.
One of the farmers watering and pruning his summer fruit trees is our friend Ronnie at Cruz Farms. Ronnie told us a few months ago that many small family orchards in Fresno are having a hard time keeping their farms in the fruit business. One in particular was located in an area where many orchards are being pulled out and planted with corn because of government subsidies for corn for ethanol and cattle feed. This 25-acre plot was owned by a family friend who wanted to keep his 40-year-old plum orchard going but was having a hard time. Ronnie, FruitGuys COO Erik, and I sat down and came up with a plan: we would get into farming. Part of The FruitGuys mission is to support and sustain small family farmers and his next phase-going beyond just buying product from them-but investing in their farms, is exciting. We're looking forward to becoming more involved in issues like preserving small family farmland, sustainability, water conservation, reduction of pesticide use, and increasing organic and natural farm practices. Plus we'll have some wonderful unique plum varieties in our boxes next season. So, like my niece, we'll be asking our trees what they might need, just without the Minnie Mouse ears.
Check out what's in your fruit mix here.
Enjoy and be fruitful! firstname.lastname@example.org
Parade of Pears
Autumn brings us a treasury of fruit, with a concentration in apples and pears. There are so many apple varieties in this country they fill volumes with the facets of their origins and taste characteristics. The parade of pears begins in September and stretches well through winter. Across the country, regional climates reveal their bounty week by week.
An interesting fact is that most pear varieties are the same as those planted a century ago or more. While many stone fruits and citrus have been modernized over time (think seedless citrus varieties for example) to keep up with the taste trends, pears are nonpareil in their consistency over time—they are quintessential heirlooms. Some varieties you will see during the season include: red and green D'anjou Pears, varieties of Asian Pears, red and green Bartlett Pears, golden Bosc Pears, the Doyenne Du Comice Pear, and the handy Seckel Pear, to name but a few.
Belgian growers in the 18th century are given credit for cultivating the buttery characteristics in pears that we adore today. Previous to that wild pears were crispy, more like an Asian Apple Pear. The Bartlett's sport was discovered in Berkshire, England in 1770 where it is still popular under the name “Williams Pear.” Comice, the queen of pears, was discovered in France's Loire Valley. In the U.S., the little Seckel Pear was coveted by a Pennsylvania man until about 1870 when he sold his farm to Seckel who cultivated it commercially.
Pears are generally picked under-ripe from the trees to prevent damage to their delicate constitutions. Pears ripen from the inside out, so give them a gentle squeeze; if they give they are ready to eat. You can let your pears sit for a few days or hasten their ripening by placing them in a bag with an apple or banana.
- Heidi Lewis
Wellness Tips from the World’s Oldest Man
The world’s oldest living man, Walter Breuning turned 113 on September 21. His secret: eat only two meals a day and lots of fruit.
He was born in Melrose, Montana and still lives there today, residing at the Rainbow Retirement and Assisted Living Center. He says the secret to a long healthy life is to keep your mind and body active. He was born in 1896 and went to work for the Great Northern Railroad when he was 17. After retiring there at age 66, he was manager for the local Shriner’s Club until age 99.
Standing 5’8” tall and weighing 125 pounds, Breuning says he has stayed that same weight for the last 35 years, ever since he stopped eating dinner when he realized how much better he felt. “I think you should push back from the table when you are still hungry,” he told Montana’s Great Falls Tribune. “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.”
Breuning said he wakes each day at 6:15 and eats a big breakfast of eggs and toast or pancakes at 7:30 and then a big lunch. “I eat a lot of fruit every day,” he added. He also drinks plenty of water and just a little coffee each day. The supercentenarian said he has been healthy all his life thanks to his common-sense diet and hard work. “Work doesn’t hurt anybody,” he said. He still wears a suit and tie each day and walks and chats with visitors. His eyes don’t allow him to read much anymore but he listens to the radio to stay up with current events.
“Life is short but the influences of what we do or say is immortal. There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship among us and more forgiveness,” he told the Tribune. “The power of gentleness is little seen in the world.”
His birthday lunch was liver and onions, his favorite, and two birthday cakes, one chocolate and one vanilla. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer sent Breuning a fruit basket after meeting with him recently. “Boy, I tell you that was good fruit. I ate the whole darn thing. Peaches, pears, everything, it sure was good.”
- Pia Hinckle
Fresh Fruit Delivery Fundraiser
Get premium quality, farm fresh fruit, delivered by The FruitGuys and support the California Fit Business program, hosted by the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness (a project of the non-profit organization, the Public Health Institute).
1. Choose your crate. Select organic or conventionally grown fruit in large (50 servings) or small (25 servings).
2. Choose your delivery frequency. Weekly, every other week, or monthly.
Order now! Use promo code: taskforce09
The Task Force will receive $20 for every large box and $8 for every small box purchased via The FruitGuys fundraising program through November, 2009.
How to Eat a Pomegranate
Here at the FruitGuys we love fruit lore, and the pomegranate is a veritable jackpot of fruit mythos.
The Silk Road is jammed with kings, goddesses, saints and sinners holding up signs extolling the virtues of the noble pomegranate: invincibility, wisdom, wealth and love. Seeker, look for yourself into the pomegranate's treasure chest. Just score and open to behold the rubies, the riches! Ye shall be rewarded with Vitamin C (40% R.D.A) and an abundance of antioxidants.
Garden of Good... and Evil - Chicago Botanic
Label Reading 101
21, Oct 28
10th Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities
New York, NY
Scarecrow Building - NY Botanical Garden
Is There a Midwestern Cuisine? Culinary Identities of the American
New York, NY
Harvest Celebration at Slide Ranch
Muir Beach, CA
San Rafael, CA
Audubon Adult Wildlife Research Camp
Orange County, CA
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