Raiders of the Lost Ark(ansas Black)

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It's hot, and dusty in here. I'm feeling very grizzled. And leathery. And I'm wearing a lot of leather, too. Not very practical considering how hot it is. And for some reason I feel kind of itchy. Good thing I've got this bag of sand in my pocket”¦ it's all about to pay off. Hm. The bag is empty. It's spilled inside my leathers. At least the itch is no longer a mystery”¦ but I'm heading back empty handed again. I've got to stop getting "Ancient Temple" and "Organic Orchard" confused.
What am I doing here? Hunting for the Coveted Ark. The Arkansas Black apple, that is. You know what I'm talking about - that rare heirloom, nearly spherical, so-dark-red-it's-really-purple-and-actually-almost-Black (hence-the-name) Beauty (no-relation-to-the-horse) that shows up in your FruitGuys crates every autumn. It's been a lean year - only a couple of our favorite farmers still grow this tremendous old variety, a descendent of the equally rare Winesap. And at least one of our growers lost his entire Arkansas Black crop this year before they matured. Some say it's just the breaks when Mother Nature calls the shots - but I'm not ruling out Nazis, or snakes”¦ I hate snakes. Even so, I'd be willing to swing a back-room Eden deal right now for one of those rich, cider-smooth Arkansas Blacks and the amazing subtle cherry finish in the skin”¦
BUT WAIT! Just this morning I got a tip-off from one of the finest fruit finders on this or any other planet - DIY Dan. We've been working together for over ten years on these kinds of missions and don't come away empty handed often. Dan sent word to me in a message printed on one of my student's eyelids: she blinked at me in class, and I read, "Meet me in Cuyama." Class dismissed. But not before the student next to her blinked too - "And make sure you give me credit for thinking up this 'Raiders' gag!" Sheepishly, I admitted in the very next sentence that I'd lifted the premise of this week's newsletter straight from my amiable partner, a Dan-The-Man-Among-Men when it comes to storytelling. Thanks chum. Next newsletter I'll let you drive the Rolls Royce.
One sepia-toned overhead map of California and bunch of connecting red dots and lines later, I turned off Highway 33 into the high elevations of the Cuyama valley, a remote mountainous area of Santa Barbara County surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest. Finally, the Ancient Temple at Cuyama was in sight”¦ luckily Dan was already on-site to correct me: "It's Cuyama Orchards. It's all organic. Cut the temple stuff out." And so, we got our hands on the most Coveted Arks of all this season, and we're proud to share all of them with you. Except for one single unmarked crate, which we’re putting into storage”¦
See what's in YOUR regional mix here.
-Jeff Koelemay


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.