Main Street Trees - Fruit Tasting

Our farm is hosting another Fruit Tasting this Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 3:00 if it is not raining. There should be around 20 fruits to taste such as 5 different pomegranates, fresh and dried persimmons, several citrus including Australian Finger Lime, Pineapple Guava. The $5 charge includes a partial farm tour of young and old fruit trees, demonstration of ecological farm practices, food grown in containers, backyard sized chicken coop and run made out of 2 discarded trampolines and more. Tell your fruit loving friends! We will try to hold this almost every week to learn and taste fruit and see how to care for and harvest year round by learning a little at a time and tasting what is ripe each week.

Pomegranates are easy to grow

Here in Napa we have enough heat to really ripen pomegranates. The flavor is tangy and the color of the arils ranges from clear to very dark red. I prefer the darker color and a balance between sweetness and tartness. I like to use the trick of removing the arils in a bowl of water to speed things up and keep the juice from getting where is it not desired. Pomegranates are just becoming ripe and are well worth all the work to squeeze out the juice to use or store in the freezer in a canning jar to enjoy at another time of the year. The tree does not require a lot of water once it is established and there are no pests to the tree or fruit in this part of the world. The origin of the pom is the Middle East so plenty of heat and lots of sun is required to fully ripen the fruit but not much water. Plant soon to enjoy juicy fruit arils to add to salads, to eat out of hand or to make a dark red drink. I have tasted many varieties and our nursery carries the darkest colors with the best sweet/tart balance because these are the ones that win the taste tests.

Loquats are Ripening Now

Loquats are one of those fruits where the tree appears in places it was never formally planted. The birds seem to plant most of them. Trees that start as a seedling will have small fruit and can take 8 years until fruiting. Grafted wood from a large fruit variety onto a seedling that is about a half inch diameter stem will produce in about 4 years. The flowers of the loquat are lovely and can turn heads with the sweet smell though the flowers are not showy. They are flowering in the late winter and the fruit is one of the earliest non-citrus to grace your backyard in the year. The leaves are very large, very dark and thick. This is an evergreen so it serves year round as a handsome shrub or small tree. Try tasting one next time you have a chance.

Big Valley Oaks - fast growing!

We are famous for our large sized Valley Oak, aka Quercus lobata. This picture shows a couple in 48 inch diameter containers. They are about twenty feet tall and about 5 inch caliper (the width of the trunk). These trees do fine with good watering after they are put in their forever home. The Valley Oak is very fast growing if planted in their favorite habitat which is the valley floor, clay soil is great for them. The range goes to 1500 feet. They are also called water oak and are not the type of native oak that hates to be watered. They even grow in the river! They will find the water table with a strong tap root that reforms and drills deep deep deep into the clay for summer water. Until that happens you will need a drip system so it won't dry out in the summer. The whole valley floor here in Napa was Valley Oak back in the day before wheat, fruit trees and finally wine grapes dominate. Usually you will see the round apple sized gall balls hanging and that will help identify a Valley Oak from a distance. If you are from other parts of the US you would call this tree a White Oak. Beautiful!

Apple worms - be gone!

Main Street Trees uses nontoxic methods of pest control. This used water bottle is being re-purposed as a trap for the moth that makes worms in organic apples. The bottle hangs from a branch using any twine or wire and has several large holes in the sides. On the bottom is a mix of vinegar, liquid soap, molasses and ammonia to reduce the number of moths in the apple orchard. This is only one technique and several are needed to really do the job of keeping the moths to a minimum.