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Archive for April, 2016

Burkart Organic Stone Fruit Not Far Off

The Burkart stone fruit season is less than a month away. Richard Burkart anticipates the season will have a “normal” start time around mid-May.  After a few warm winters and another year of drought California finally experienced a rainy winter with cold nights, allowing the trees to catch their z’s.  Fruit trees need anywhere from 100-1000 dormant chill hours each season, depending on variety and age of the tree, to produce a vibrant crop. Chill hours allow the trees to go dormant and get the sleep they need to rejuvenate themselves. Trees, like ourselves need sleep in order function correctly. Even trees can get cranky from lack of sleep.

Richard expects the stone fruit will size up larger this year. In 2014 and in 2015 we saw an increased volume of smaller sized stone fruit in California. Growers blame it on the warm winters, drought and lack of chill hours.  Only time will tell how the cold and rainy winter affected this year’s crop. Currently all of the blossoms have fallen off of the trees and the fruit has started to form. Stay tuned for updates from Richard Burkart as we get closer to the start of the stone fruit season.

Nectarines BEST

Nectarines sizing up

 

 

Sanchez Brothers Cucumber Mojito

John and Paul Sanchez grow year round hothouse cucumbers on 1 ½ acres in Carpinteria just south of Santa Barbara. 

Serves 2

6  peeled cucumber slices
6 lime slices
20 mint leaves
2 tablespoons agave syrup
4 ounces of vodka
Tonic water

Muddle 4 of the lime slices and mint leaves together in a shaker.  Add the cucumber slices and muddle once more. Add the agave syrup, vodka and a few splashes of tonic water.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake it good for about 30 seconds. Pour strained cocktail over 2 glasses of ice. Fill to the top with tonic water and gently stir. Garnish each glass with a lime and cucumber slice.

This drink is also outstanding without the alcohol. Just add more tonic or sparkling water and enjoy.

“The cucumbers mixed with agave taste like sweet melons. Enjoy this drink after a long hard day!”- John Sanchez

 

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Rhubarb

Rhubarb grows best in the northern regions of the United States. Look for bright red stalks which have a sweet rich flavor. The size of the stalk is not an indicator of tenderness!

Storage tips: Wrap loosely in plastic and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Do not keep for more than a few days or it will start to dry out. Place the stalks in cold water for about an hour to refresh them before cooking. Click here for the full blog

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Organic king Dick Peixoto of Lakeside Organics grows and gives big

ORIGINAL STORY BY RYAN MASTERS, SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL POSTED 3/16/16

WATSONVILLE >> In 1977, Dick Peixoto was a young Watsonville farmer struggling to survive to another harvest. The outlook was grim. His fuel company had just cut him off due to an $8,000 debt. Without fuel to run his equipment, Peixoto’s fledgling business would go to seed.

“I was dead in the water until a guy from a local fuel business knocked on my door. He not only offered to sell me the fuel I needed, but he also paid off my debt and gave me 30 days breathing room and manageable terms to repay him,” Peixoto said. “All he wanted in return was my business. I’ve been buying fuel from him for almost 40 years now.”

During the past four decades, Peixoto, 59, has transformed 40-odd acres of conventional green beans into Lakeside Organic Gardens, the largest family owned, solely organic grower-shipper in the U.S. And despite experiencing 20 percent year-over-year growth, Lakeside Organic Gardens can’t come close to fulfilling the massive market demand for its product.

“I’ve been broke twice since I started growing organic. There was a time when I couldn’t even go down to Taco Bell and charge a burrito on my credit card. I understand tough times,” Peixoto said. “People often experience circumstances beyond their control and they need some help.”

In 2015, Peixoto donated $375,000 to 17 local organizations, including Pajaro Valley Shelter Services, CASA of Santa Cruz County, The Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank.

In early January, Peixoto announced that Lakeside Organic Gardens was investing $2 million toward a learning center that could help shape the future or organic and sustainable agriculture.

Dick Peixoto

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL HERE

 

Sanchez Brothers Year Round Hothouse Cucumbers

Neither John nor Paul Sanchez has formal farming experience but they grew up with a love of farming from working in the family garden with their grandfather, mom and dad. John went on to major in ornamental horticulture at Cal Poly under the agricultural program with a strong interest in soil science. Ultimately John chose a career as a landscape contractor and Paul as a general contractor.

It is by accident that the Sanchez Brothers came back to their love of farming. Eight years ago they were looking to buy a piece of land to park their business trucks on. They came across a few acres perfect for their trucks, complete with a hothouse and a barn they could rent.  Soon after they bought the property the rental deal fell through and John and Paul were left with an empty hothouse. They remembered how much they loved gardening with their family and eating fresh produce they had helped grow. The Sanchez brothers decided to give farming a go!

Sanchez Brothers John and Paul

John and Paul Sanchez

John and Paul started off growing heirloom tomatoes for about three years and then moved into green beans and cucumbers. Customers told them “Now this is what a cucumber tastes and smells like!”  They wanted a niche market and decided to focus on growing the best quality slicer cucumbers year round. “We work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, but we love it,” said John with a laugh.  When they are not farming they still continue to work as contractors with home offices on the farm.

The hothouse is located on 1 ½ acres in Carpinteria just south of Santa Barbara. “We have the best and the worst of each type of weather,” said John. They are located in a little cove nearer to the mountains than the ocean. This helps them because they don’t get as much fog and it is nice and sunny. The sun passes through the plastic on the rooftop providing light to the plants and helping to heat the inside of the hothouse. The downside is when it gets really windy, it blows up against the hothouses and the strong winds have been known to knock off the roof. Fortunately Paul is a general contractor and can have his crew out there fixing the hothouse when needed.

Sanchez cucumbers will be arriving at Earl’s this week and we can expect to see a year round supply. “We enjoy it here in Carpinteria. We love growing all organic because we want to see healthy bodies,” said John. When they are not working hard the Sanchez Brothers can be found enjoying a refreshing cucumber mojito.

Best greenhouse

Sanchez Brothers hothouse cucumbers in Carpinteria

 

 

 

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