A majority of the fruit grown in the U.S. comes from California. Much of that is within 300 miles of the Bay Area. If you are willing to dig a bit, some of the most exciting and unique small farms exist in this region. Dan Lemley, who started with me back in 1999 when we were still using my car for deliveries and home phone as an office number, is our man in the field. He researches farms and finds unique fruit for the FruitGuys. So far we have seen white Persian apricots called Angelcots, heirloom peaches and nectarines, unusual citrus and the upcoming splash of old and unique varieties of apples and pears. One day, Dans travels took him in two directions, south to Watsonville and north to Ukiah. In Ukiah, he was visiting Johnson’s Farm, where we got some of our fresh Bartlett pears.
The Mollie Delicious
In Watsonville, Dan stopped in on Hillview Farms and Joe Stabile. Joe grows nearly 100 varieties of heirloom and unique apples on his 40-acre farm. He has a one-person sorting machine that, when switched on, gently vibrates a load of apples down a conveyer belt where they roll into v-shaped sorters that separate the apples by size. He then hand sorts them into boxes for us. Joe told us the apples would be fresh, and they were! When Dan arrived, Joe and his pickers were still harvesting. A Mollie Delicious Apple is a cross of a Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Edgewood, and Close varieties. It is rustic looking, not perfectly round and bruises easily, but try it. It is a wonderful apple with great taste. It has the initial bite of a Gravenstein with a refreshingly light finish. Enjoy!
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