Wave A Magic Wand April 24, 2006

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The kids are sitting quietly as we all read the adventures of Harry Potter and the students at Hogwarts school of magic. It's an obsession in our household lately and the cat hates it. I go running when I notice drinking straw-wands strewn around the kitchen and hear one of the girls say: "Gato Leviosa" - the cat is "encouraged to levitate" off the counter. He's up in the air in some Daliesque freeze frame and in the half second before he rights himself and lands on the floor my kids believe they are magic. "Please stop bothering the cat!" I yell. Silence. "He doesn't like it," I say. "But he's magic," they tell me. "Let's stick to making stuffed animals fly," I suggest. Shoulders shrug and they're off, bendy-straws waving wildly.
Right now I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the California spring change to what it was last year. Last year cherries were abundant and early. After talking with some growers in central California recently we are hearing that cherry harvest will start about 10-14 days later this year. That means we may begin to see cherries in early to mid May. However these early cherries will come from farm land south of Fresno where they had a freeze which will make the crop light. The area in Stockton, Lodi and Linden may also be light as the rain and damp conditions kept the bees from pollinating as vigorously as previous springs - anyone have some 3 millimeter rain slickers lying around? Another grower of ours reminded me that when the cherry crop is late, the end of the harvest begins to stretch into the 100-110 degree heat of summer which also kills the cherries at the tail end of the season - cutting both the beginning and the ends of the season short. It's a double whammy. Between night frosts, hail storms, difficult bees and rain at harvest, it's nearly magical that farmers get through this time of year and produce wonderful fruit for all of us to eat.
The Comice Pear-- An importer called us recently with a tip about a high end grower in Argentina who had a bumper crop of Comice pears. The comice pear is by far my favorite pear. It is called the peach of fall for its soft, smooth and juicy ripe-texture and super sweet taste. We were able to arrange for a delivery of these fresh pears from Argentina for you. They came to us hand wrapped in wooden crates and will appear in all of our conventional fruit mixes this week (staples, staples+2, horn of plenty, harvest flyer). You can look for them by their bulbous shape and dimple in the bottom of the pear. They are best when left to ripen until they give softly to the touch and have a light yellow hue. Enjoy and be fruitful!


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