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Earl Visits Blueberry And Stone Fruit Growers

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Earl and Randy, the fruit buyer took a mid-April road trip to visit a few of our growers.  The first stop was Double D farms in Coalinga located about 2 hours north of Bakersfield off Hwy 5.  Double D is named after owners and partners Dave Wood and Don Devine.  In 1997 they realized the importance of all natural, chemical-free produce and became a certified organic farm.

Randy Windham, Gurdeep Billan

Earl, Randy and Gurdeep Billan, Double D’s Director of Sales, walked the farm before the rain storms hit.  Double D usually has an early start in the market by growing some blueberries in hoop houses, providing a natural warm climate, but unfortunately strong winds from recent storms blew them down.   Although the wind and rain pushed their start date to May 1, the blueberry bushes were really populated with fruit.

Earl and Randy

Double D’s blueberries are grown on the west side of Fresno County which is protected by a mountain ridge with its own unique microclimate.  From May to September the days can get up to 105 degrees and the nights cool off to around 74 degrees.  One of the biggest factors in successfully growing blueberries is keeping the temperature above 70 degrees.  Lower temperatures and rain can cause mildew, scarring and mushy blueberries.  Double D believes conserving water and sustainability are important.  They use the pruned blueberry branches as compost resulting in extremely fertile ground.   In addition to blueberries, Double D also grows onions, broccoli, asparagus and melons.

Double D blueberries are just starting to come on and will be in full swing by the middle of May.  This week blueberries from a variety of growers are on our weekly special.


On the way back to San Francisco Earl and Randy stopped briefly at Burkart for a quick walk through the stone fruit orchards. They just missed the blossoms but the ground had been mowed and turned so everything looked very clean and green.  The soil is sandy which allows water to penetrate and not just pool on top of the soil, which means less pests and of course excellent irrigation.

Peach tree

The machines are ready for harvest time and in mid –April the peaches were small and grey with a little fuzz and the nectarines were small and red.  Richard Burkart stands apart from other peach growers because he focuses on quality and picks his varieties 2,3 or even 4 times during the season to get the fruit at the most mature with the highest sugar levels.

Nectarine tree

We will continue to update you on the arrival of summer stone fruit on our website, Facebook and Twitter. Please post questions and comments on our Facebook wall.

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