Farm Focus: Citrus Update #1
Back in January we wrote about our 2018 plans to plant more citrus trees at Frog Hollow Farm. Now that tree planting season is coming to an end we wanted to give you an update! As Farmer Al mentioned last week in his note we've planted about 10,000* trees this year including 9 acres of citrus, 20 acres of almonds, 7 acres of peaches and 20 of mixed stone fruit (cherry, apricot, nectarine, plum). We visited farm assistant extraordinaire Rachel and the tree planting crew out in the orchard to find out more about the new citrus which is being planted specifically for CSA members like you!
Frog Hollow Farm is known for our stone fruit but with an eye on the future, we are working hard to diversify. Diversification will allow us to fill our CSA boxes with our own fruit year-round and, with increasingly unpredictable weather extremes from climate change, allows us to hedge our bets for good harvests from heat tolerant crops.
Two varieties will be familiar from your winter boxes: Tarocco Blood Oranges and Meyer Lemons. While we might be known for our stone fruit, our tarocco blood oranges, with their beautiful color and tangy flavor are an early winter favorite! Meyer Lemons, a cross between mandarins and Eureka lemons provide a sweet-tart treat on dreary winter days.
We've got some newbies going in the ground, too. Rangpur Limes and Finger Limes are two of the more unusual varieties putting roots down at Frog Hollow Farm. Rangpur Limes look like mandarins and taste more like a lemon, making beautiful margaritas and curd for lemon bars! Finger Limes, also known as caviar limes, are native to Australia and are one of the most unique fruits we've ever seen. Shaped like a finger these dark green fruits are filled with round cells (as opposed to the usual tear dropped shape of citrus flesh) that pop in your mouth like caviar! They make an incredible addition to guacamole or with fresh oysters.
While it will be a few years before these young trees start producing we’ll take good care of them in the meantime! Stay tuned for next week’s letter to learn about some challenges we face with citrus and what we’re doing to prepare.