Winter inspiration- Persimmons

December 8, 2017

There is something so special about seasonal fruit in the wintertime. Long gone are the peaches of summer, juicy melons are a distant memory.  Even the pears and the apples have been under storage for a few months.  And then, there’s the mighty persimmon!  Much tougher than citrus (the other star of winter produce), persimmons can withstand a freeze and keep on trucking.

There are 2 types of persimmons that you can find in the store- Fuyus and Hachiyas.  Or, if you were one of 7,000 students across the county this month, you didn’t even need to go to the store- you tried Fuyu persimmons at school as part of December’s Harvest of the Month program.  Fuyus can be eaten like an apple- crispy and sweet with hints on honey and vanilla- these bright orange fruits are a true seasonal treat.  In case you need to tell the difference- Fuyus are the flatter fruits which are eaten fresh and hard, and the Hachiyas are acorn shaped and terribly astringent until they turn into sugary goo, and then they are ready to eat.  You can guess which type the students tasted this month!

The Fuyu persimmons for the Harvest of the Month program came from Pearson Family Orchards out of Arboga, CA.  The Pearson family has been growing fruit for nearly 60 years!  As a 4th generation family farm, the Pearsons were one of the first valley farms to switch from flood irrigation to drip irrigation, incorporating sustainable farming methods such as water conservation, mulching, cover cropping, crop rotation, limited tillage and encouragement of wildlife habitat.  These types of practices are what make ecologically responsible farms different from their conventional counterparts.   

Responsible stewardship of agricultural land is vital for our environment, our health and ultimately our planet.  If you are interested in learning more about sustainable food and farming and practices like the Pearson family uses, look no further than our own Grass Valley!   Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food and Farm Conference is happening February 9-11, 2018.

The conference features keynote presentations from the following farmers and change makers:

  • Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms will be talking about regenerative farming and ranching. Salatin is hailed as the “high priest of the pasture”, and “the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson.”  He will teach about how to make a living raising animals, building relationships to have a successful farm business, and using “nature mimicry” to increase yields and profits. With ten published books and a thriving multi-generational family farm, Salatin draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to inspire farmers, ranchers and home gardeners around the world.
  • Paul and Emily Kaiser will be presenting on “No Till High Yield Sustainable Farming.” At Singing Frogs Farm, Elizabeth and Paul have applied their unique backgrounds in farming, nutrition, public health and agroforestry to develop a highly intensive, no-till, ecological management system for their small but mighty vegetable farm and CSA.  The Kaisers method of farming has resulted in an increase of over 300% in their soil organic matter, while drastically reducing their water use, and generates over $100,000 per acre in sales!
  • Daphne Miller weaves together biomedical science, soil health and stories from her own medical practice to illustrate the health benefits of local, organic farms and gardens.  Learn about the connection between microbes in the soil and in our bodies; why local, organic farm produce is healthier, and why spending time in organic gardens and farms can promote health in a number of different of ways.

The Sustainable Food and Farm Conference is inspiring and full of practical information for both home garden and farm scale producers.  In addition to the keynote presentations, there’s a food and farm expo, 20 workshops and local farm tours.    Who knows- after attending the conference, maybe you’ll be the next grower for the Harvest of the Month program!  For more information about the conference, visit: http://www.foodandfarmconference.com/

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