Archive for organic fruit

Elephant Heart Plums

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by Grouse Mt. Farm

It’s been almost five months since I harvested the Elephant Heart plums, September 18, 2012 to be exact. It wasn’t much of a harvest, often times it isn’t with this variety, for us anyway. We have three big mature trees that usually bloom prolifically but more often then not, just don’t set fruit. We’ve planted a few more varieties of Japanese plums to help with the pollination (Plums can be fickle this way) and when the weather is conducive to bees getting out and visiting the flowers, we have gotten good crops from these trees. The weather is a huge factor here too (as with most everything), it’s  often windy, cold and rainy in the spring, so bees don’t have a chance to get out and  do what they do. Other plums we have seem to never have an issue with setting fruit; Santa Rosa, Shiro, Burbank, all pretty much bloom around the same time and are consistent bearers. The Elephant heart is one of a few varieties we grow that customers ask us about when we get back to the markets in July, months before they’re ready, a favorite.



Elephant Heart Plums, in January !


You might be wondering why I’ve chosen now to write about this illustrious fruit now? As I mentioned above, we didn’t get much of a harvest last fall, but we did get about a box (20+ pounds or so) which we kept for ourselves, and I’ve been eating them with my breakfast since, one or two every day. I just ate the last ones today; January 14, 2013, no foolin’! Not all were in great shape, they begin to break down with browning around the pit spreading to the skin, some of ours had browned a little, but still good to eat. Thats right, FIVE months since harvest, for a soft fruit! I wouldn’t attempt to market them this late, but to know they can last this long is a revelation to me. The longest we’ve kept them before was to just after the Thanksgiving holiday (late november) and then to just before Christmas, but into January now. Our method of storage is that I turn off the refrigerator unit in our walk in cooler when it gets cold out (November) and use the cold outside air to cool it, basically a refrigerator.


This coming season, if we get any to set, I’d like to pick some a week or ten days before when I usually harvest them and see if they last any longer or hold up better in storage, and if they’ll ripen. It’s a bit of balancing act with fruit harvests, when a variety is destined for a long term storage it gets picked sooner then if the fruit is intended for immediate  consumption, but care must be taken to make sure the fruit is ripe enough to mature when taken out of storage and also not to pick it too ripe off the tree and too far along the ripeness spectrum as to be past prime. (Ever had a peach from the grocery store that never get sweet or ripen properly, they were picked to soon. Conversely, if you leave a peach on the tree just past it’s optimum picking window, it gets mealy and loses sweetness ) And of course it varies dramatically from fruit to fruit and also from variety to variety within the same fruit. But, Japanese plums in January that weren’t shipped halfway around the world, Yeah!!

Re: More Pie Cherries August 11, 2012

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Please pardon the mess below, I wasn’t intending to publish what got published, well not what but when. Anyway…

Along with the sour cherries, we’ll have Peaches, Blenheim Apricots (last week for them), Santa Rosa Plums, and White Fleshed Nectarines. Also Green Beans (Romano) and Eggplants.

It’s been a hot week and things are moving right along, ripening wise that is. Tomatoes should be here soon along with the usual fruits and veggies.

See you Saturday.

Pie Cherries

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit, whats fresh with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2012 by Grouse Mt. Farm

They’ve  been slow in coming and still slow to ripen but we will have some pie or sour cherries this weekend ( July 28, 2012). Not as late as last year but as far past years go they’re on the late rather then early schedule. We’ll have North Star and Montmorency varieties this week, still not a whole lot but a good start.

Montmorency Pie Cherries

We still have many on trees, so we’ll have them for a couple of weeks yet.  Also the Balaton variety is yet to come, they’re another dark fleshed sour cherry.

We’ll also have more Attika and Bing sweet cherries, some Bleinheim Apricots, and some early Springcrest Peaches. Only a modest amount of Cots and Peaches, that fruit is just beginning to come on for us. We’ll have some Red Currants and Mulberries as well.

See you Saturday!


First Market This Season- July 23, 2011

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic farming, whats fresh with tags , , , , on July 22, 2011 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Mid Summer

We’re two weeks later then most years, but it looks like this weekend will be our first market at the University District Farmers Market (in Seattle) for this season. Its was a cold wet spring and a very cool summer so far, great living weather , but not so good for growing fruits and vegetables. Similar to last year, it rained quite a bit during blossom time which makes it difficult for the bees to get out and pollinate the flowers, so less fruit. And with it being so cool everything is ripening a couple weeks later then normal ( hard to tell what normal is any more, but later then what we’ve been accustomed to).

This week we’ll have Chelan cherries, raspberries, pluots (a cross between an apricot and plum, this particular cross resembles the cot more with some of a plums tartness) , Black currants, sugar snap and snow peas . We don’t have a lot of anything, so I recommend getting to the market early.



Newtown Pippins

Posted in Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , on April 3, 2011 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Greetings and happy spring to all!
Winter is definitely over, the last of the snow here disappeared yesterday. Its been a fairly wet spring, and warmish the last few days which has really begun to green things up. Its great to hear birds early in the morning again, its hard not to love this time of year.

Newtown Pippins in our cooler, early April

I just opened our box of Newtown Pippins in our cooler the other day, and they look great. Firm, crisp and tasty for sure. As you can see from the pics , they’re just beginning to turn yellow (ripe). We’ll eat these until they run out or until strawberries start to ripen in June and fresh fruit becomes more appealing. I’m still eating Jonathan, Prairie Spy, Spitzenburg, and King David apples. They’re all good and keep well, but don’t have the long term keeping qualities as well as the Pippins do. Pippins are good off the tree in late October or early November, depending on the year, but they don’t reach their potential until they sit in storage for a few months.

The Newtown Pippin is also noted as being one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apples. It was once widely grown as a commercial apple, but has become eclipsed by the Granny Smith, which in my opinion doesn’t come close in quality to the Pippin.
We store our fruit in our walk in cooler which has the refrigeration unit turned off in the fall, and has air vents and a fan connected to a thermostat to turn the fan off when it gets too cold, nothing fancy. I have a friend who keeps them in outside sheds in Seattle all winter (be sure to put them in containers to keep rodents out) with great results. A cold porch or basement or spare refrigerator works too. In colder climates keeping them from freezing is important.

Whats Fresh for September 18

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

We had sort of return to Summer late last week and the beginning of this one and now cooler and a little wet, whatever its Fall..
Some leaves are beginning to turn colors and drop, its a great season. The cooler weather also helps color up the apples.

Swiss Arlet Apple

This week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Fantasia Nectarines
-Belle of Georgia White Peaches
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Friar Plums
-Wickson Plums
-Red Clapp Pears
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Tydeman Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Akane Apples
-McIntosh Apples
-Tomatoes (more then we’ve had all season)

Gravenstein Apple

We’ve been seeing more bear signs around, and actually saw him/her on our way to Seattle last week a mile or so down our road, but luckily no missing fruit or busted up trees. Next week is the Equinox, the days will be shorter then the nights, WOW!
See you saturday.

Our loyal friend and dog, Blaze

Fresh on the Market Table for September 11

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Red Clapp Pears

Its been a crazy weather week, it rained from Monday until early this morning (Thursday). Over an inch of precipitation, and cool, not much warmer then 60. I love that kind of weather personally, but Peaches and Tomatoes don’t care for it. I usually pick the soft fruit every other day, as it ripens, but ripening pretty much stopped this week. In last weeks post I stated that there will be Fantasia Nectarines, but not yet. Everything else I said would be, will be at the market on Saturday. I know better then to predict what will be ripe tomorrow or next week, I’ll attempt to refrain from doing so and maybe state what may be coming…
For sure this week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Akane Apples
-Ginger Gold Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Tydeman Apples

Red Globe Peaches

The apples like the cooler weather and are coloring up nicely. We should be getting in to our Fall apples in the next couple of weeks, Nectarines and Peaches still on the way.
See you saturday.