The end of the marathon

I’ve had a great year at the farm — so many tasty fruits my stomach is going to burst at the collective impact of all the peaches I’ve eaten this year. The farm has been supported by so many: the Davis Food Coop, Soil Born Farms, Heavy Dirt Farm, Bi-Rite market in San Francisco, Everything Under the Sun (who is soon going to bring us our stashes of dried fruit), Pop Nation, June Taylor’s Still Room, and all the loyal customers in Davis including our fruit CSA customers. Thank you so much! I have about a week left of picking apricots and then a couple weeks more of figs, and then I’ll be waiting for the fruit to begin again next year. I’ll be having some weeding and wine parties soon to whip the orchard back into pristine shape — the weeds have been winning in the weeding vs. fruit picking battle. And then the pruning, then the thinning and then it begins again!

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The unloved unlovely peach

My friend Jen is a big fan of the unlovely peaches in the orchard. The ones with bite marks, powdery mildew marks, contorted flesh, split pits, the small, bite-sized peaches. By far, the biggest aesthetic problem we have is the powdery mildew, which occurred back in April during those big wind storms. The spots don’t spread and only affect the skin, not the taste of the peach at all. However, it means a lot of the peaches can’t go to market. When Jen picks peaches in the orchard, she rants about the jam-makers who require perfect looking fruit and the grocery stores that need fruit without a blemish. Or the “size queens” that look for the biggest, best fruit. In this organic orchard, about 1/4 to 1/10th (depending on variety) of the peaches are able to go to top-quality markets. The rest do find outlets (either fruit drying, popsicle makers like Pop Nation, farmers markets and farmstands where blemishes are OK and accepted) but I find myself with a large quantity of only aestheically challenged peaches (ie. tasty except for the blemishes).The CSA boxes get some perfect peaches and some appearance-challenged peaches & I thank you so much for supporting the unloved unlovely fruit. You all are really supporting the Cloverleaf in that way and I hope you are loving each of those imperfect peaches.

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And here’s message from Jen — next time you are in the grocery store, choose the imperfect fruit over the perfect fruit. The bugs know how to choose the tastiest produce out there and you’ll be helping to reduce the waste stream in our food system. And next time you are in a jam shop, look hard for the jam with blemishes (I know it’s hard to see them, but the jam-makers are worried about those blemishes). Who knows, sometime soon it might be a jar of Jen’s new jam line “The Underdog Fruit Company!”