The Face of Fruit August 20, 2007

Cruising south on the I-5 outside of Kettlemen City, the bow of the minivan cuts into the asphalt like a compass needle fixing us on a distant center of magnetic attraction known as Legoland. The kids are tired of being in the car and the gripes start flying. “Are we there yet?!” They yell from the back. “We’ll stop in 10 minutes,” I say. “10 minutes!” My daughter exclaims. My son comes to the defense: “You can wait 10 minutes — it’s like growing a moustache, it’s soooo easy.” Confused but somehow enlightened the car falls silent before the kids start asking what kinds of moustaches the cows, clouds, and over-heating cars would have.

As a man who didn’t need to shave until about age 25 (and even then it was debatable) I’m no moustache expert. However, like the distinctive and individual nature of moustaches, the different regions of the country have their own distinctive characteristics that paint a face for the rest of the world to see. Fruit, in other words – and I know it is a stretch but I’ve been in the car with kids for the last 4 days so roll with me here — could well be the moustache of the agricultural world (which makes farmers, barbers).

The West Coast Outlook: Allen Hawthorne of Harpo Farms cultivates and trims organic Valencia oranges from his trees in Ojai, California. At this time of year his oranges are ready to be picked for us about every other week. We switch up our orange mix based on Allen’s schedule. This week his organic Valencias will be in all the west coast crates. We’ll also have Gravenstein apples from both the Kozlowski and the Walker farms in Sebastopol. Fresh organic Gala apples are coming in from the Cuyama family farm east of Santa Barbara. In general, California fruit is beginning its transition from summer to fall. Apples and pears are now coming in fresh off the trees and stone fruit is waning. Although you may see stone fruit in supermarkets into September (and occasionally even early October), this fruit generally comes from higher northern latitudes which makes it seem that the season is extended.

The East Coast Outlook: The east coast is very different in terms of locally- grown products. The stone fruit season is much shorter and later than in California. For example right now we’re just getting the first fresh nectarines off the trees from Beekman Orchard in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. We’ll have the Ginger Gold apples again from Three Springs Farms (for those on the west coast who’ve asked about this, we’ll have something similar in about two weeks from a farm near Sebastopol-but again, the growing season is different on each coast).
FYI: The mix of fruits between the east and west coast will be different as we continue to find local produce on both coasts. Take a look at our website to see what is in your crate.
Enjoy and be fruitful!

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