It’s been a really dry season. Flocks of cedar waxwings are raiding the mulberry trees many times each day, eating even the unripe berries in an attempt to find some water. Fruit ripening is still quite slow, but normally picks up at the end of May. We will certainly have pounds of fresh berries for sale to individuals and chefs by June1st. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, we will continue selling jams and mulberry extracts.
Thanks to all of our mulberry friends who dropped by at the Palo Alto May Fete Parade and Fair, where we joined 5 other food trucks at the end of the parade route. It’s a great family event, and we look forward to helping out again next year.
Meanwhile, we will start our 5th season being the “Most Local Farmer” at the *downtown* Palo Alto Farmers Market (Saturdays 8am-noon, behind the post office… not the CalifAve market). This is one of the oldest markets in the Bay Area, a hidden gem on Gilman Ave for 33 years! Come by early for best pickings.
Despite a lack of water in spring, all the mulberry trees are pushing out strong amounts of tasty fruit. The ‘pakistan’ variety has been a surprising stalwart this season, with first fruit on May 1 and still going into July. The ‘illinois’ variety is just now hitting stride, with 10 pounds per day ripening. OUR THANKS to Chef Nikki at Pampas Restaurant who has committed to mulberries on the menu through the whole month of July. Our friends at Quattro at the Four Seasons also continue to feature both mulberry varieties at their fine restaurant.
(And yes, in the photo that’s a typical 10:30am sold out sales deck at the downtown Palo Alto Farmers Market… thanks as always to our loyal customers and friends at the dPAFM: http://www.pafarmersmarket.org )
Just three weeks until market opening day. Late rains have been a blessing, along with warming sunshine. Normally we have limited supply of mulberries in the first weeks of May. But the harvest will come on strong in early June, and that’s when we’ll take orders for local delivery to restaurants and individuals. Let us know if you want to be on the delivery run. Here’s looking forward to mulberry-stained finger tips!
The ‘pakistan’ mulberry trees always leaf out sooner than the other varieties. Here we see baby mulberry fruit emerging along with new leaves from last year’s shoots.
Palo Alto Farmers Market opens for the new season at 8am, Saturday, May 12th, 2012. We plan on being there to start our 4th year selling off the back of our electric flower deck. The last 3 years I’ve been able to pick just 12 four-ounce packages of ripe mulberry fruit by the second saturday in May. Still, it’s important to see old friends on opening day and have something to sell them.The ‘pakistan’ hits its stride by the end of May, early June. And then the monster harvest starts rolling in from our main crop, the ‘illinois everbearing’.
Mulberry trees are losing their leaves right now. The orchard will be a mess of tangled branches for a few months. We’ll do some pruning after Xmas, when the trees are completely dormant. Pruned branches make for interesting sculpture… or kindling for the pizza oven.
In the freezer we still have lots of mulberries, waiting for time to experiment with new recipes.
Right now, it’s pomegranate harvest time. We still haven’t found the robust hand juicer we’re looking for; a cider-making friend insists I need pneumatic-assist to juice a pome. We’ll see…