- Author: Ben Faber
Growing Hops on the North Coast
of California, but Could Apply to other Parts of the State
Learn what it takes to produce hops for the micro-brew industry
Saturday March 26th - 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
SRJC Shone Farm Pavilion
7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville, CA 95436
$45 when registering on-line in advance by March 12th
$65 after March 12th
Includes a tasting of beverages made with different varieties of hops – and lunch
8:00 to 8:30: Registration and coffee + snacks
8:30 to 9:30: Hop Production History, Economics, and the Feasibility of Growing Hops Now.
Paul Vossen, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Sonoma and Marin Counties
9:30 to10:30: Botany, Varieties, and Growing Hops. Jason Perrault, Hop Breeder – Select Botanicals and Director of Sales and Marketing Perrault Farms, Inc. Toppenish, WA
10:45 to11:30: The Contribution of Hops to Beer Flavor, Growing Hops Locally, and the Potential Market for Locally Grown Fresh Hops. Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewery, Santa Rosa, CA.
11:30 to Noon: Mechanical Harvest of Hops. Tom Frazer, Dauenhauer Mfg.; Inc. - Hailey, Idaho
Noon-12:30: Tasting of Malt Beverages made with Different Hop Varieties
12:30-1:30 Lunch (catered)
1:30 to 3:00: Local Experiences in Growing Hops on a Small-scale + Business, Logistics, and Brewing with Fresh Hops – Panel of Local Growers/Brewers. Michael Stevenson – Warm Spring Wind Farm; Layla Aguilar, Bi Rite Farm, Lorren Lancaster - Carneros Brewery; Paul Hawley - Fog Belt Brewery, Matt Penpraze - 3 Disciples Brewery and Marty and Claudia Kuchinski of HOPS-MEISTER.
3:30 to 5:00 Travel to Warm Spring Wind Farm for a tour of small-scale hop production and discussion of field growing techniques. Michael Stevenson.
Paul Vossen: is the University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor for Sonoma and Marin Counties. He has extensive experience working with the local specialty crops industry since 1981. He has in-depth knowledge of North Coast soils and climatic conditions for helping farmers determine the feasibilities for growing different types of crops on their land. He grew hops on his farm in Windsor, studied the history of local hop production, wrote a publication on “Growing Hops in California” many years ago, and he visited Yakima, WA twice last year to study hop production and processing in that region.
Jason Perrault:Born and raised on a hop farm in the Yakima Valley, Jason is a fourth generation grower with Perrault Farms, Inc. He is also the CEO for Select Botanicals Group, LLC (partner member of Hop Breeding Co.) where he has been breeding novel hop varieties for the brewing industry since 1997.
Vinnie Cilurzo: is co-owner with his wife Natalie of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa. He has been a professional brewer since 1994 when he opened Blind Pig Brewing Company in Temecula, CA and has been homebrewing since 1989. After selling his shares of Blind Pig, Vinnie and Natalie moved to Sonoma County in 1997 where he began brewing for Korbel Champagne Cellars' new brewery, Russian River Brewing Company where he also grew hops on their 1/4 hopyard. After six years, Korbel decided to get out of the beer business altogether and gave Vinnie the brand in lieu of severance. After writing a business plan and convincing friends and family to invest in their brewery, Vinnie and Natalie re-opened Russian River as a brewpub in Downtown Santa Rosa on April 3, 2004. Four years later, they opened a production brewery not far from the pub which allowed them to distribute more beer. Along with their 100 employees, both their brewpub and production brewery are brewing at 100%. They are now planning a new production brewery which would include a second brewpub with hopes of growing hops again as well. In 2008 Vinnie was honored with the Brewers Association Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Vinnie and Natalie live in Santa Rosa and enjoy their life in beautiful Sonoma County, CA.
Tom Frazer: is the President of Dauenhauer Manufacturing Inc. Founded in 1940 by Florian Dauenhauer, it remains the leading builder of large scale hop harvesting equipment with installations throughout the world. Dauenhauer employs 17 craftsmen at its plant in Toppenish, Washington who produce, install and support the harvesters that bear our name plate. Frazer is a graduate of Stanford University and lives in Hailey, Idaho with his son and three ill-behaved dogs.
Michael Stevenson: studied psychology at UC Berkeley and completed his masters in nursing at USF in 2014. He currently works in neurosciences at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Mike and his wife, biologist Francis Hourigan, are both Sebastopol natives who currently live in west Sonoma County on their small, four acre Warm Spring Wind Farm. They have both been gardening and developing their sustainable farming practices for the past eight years but began growing hops in the beginning of 2015. They currently manage about a quarter acre of hops with six different varieties so far. They also manage a small heirloom cider apple orchard and plan to expand their acreage this year. WSW Farm focuses on responsible growing practices that minimize effects on the surrounding lands and waters. In mid-2015, Mike founded the NorCal Hop Growers Alliance in attempts to bring other small-scale hop growers together, sharing resources and knowledge. The NHG Alliance now has several members representing hop yards in a diverse set of local climate conditions in Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. The organization's goal is to make hop growing successful in this area once again, and provide high quality ingredients to local craft breweries while maintaining responsible land stewardship.
Lorren Lancaster: has been in the craft brewing industry for over twenty years. He has been on the hop selection team for Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville, California and Deschutes Brewing of Bend, Oregon. Lorren is the Head Brewer at Carneros Brewing in Sonoma and also tends their on-site hop yard.
Layla Aguilar: farms three acres in Sonoma for Bi Rite Markets based in SF. For the past three years, she has expanded production to include specialty vegetables, herbs, flowers, hops and culinary mushrooms. She studied organic horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz.
Paul Hawley: grew up in Sonoma County and has been making wine alongside his dad and brother for over ten years. The old saying that "it takes a lot of beer to make wine" rings especially true as Paul started homebrewing while working a grape harvest in New Zealand with Fogbelt Co-owner, Remy Martin. The two opened Fogbelt Brewing Co in 2013 and have been featuring beers made with locally grown hops in their taproom. Paul farms 1/4 acre of hops on his family's vineyard in Healdsburg and works with other small hop farmers in the area.
Matt Penpraze: is Co-Founder and Co-Owner of 3 Disciples Brewing. He was born and raised in Sonoma County, California. With an avid gardener and a winemaker for parents, Matt developed an appreciation for both agriculture and fermentation. After brewing on a small-scale for years, Matt along with his friends Luke Melo and James Claus started what would become 3 Disciples Brewing. In the beginning, they planted a few Cascade and Centennial rhizomes on their Sebastopol property. They have since expanded their hop yard to include 7 different varieties and will continue to plant an array of distinctive hops for their innovative ales. As well as hops, they grow barley, pumpkins, strawberries and an assortment of other ingredients for their beers. 3 Disciples Brewing will offer up their first beers in the spring of 2016. Matt is married to his wonderful wife Kari and they celebrated the birth of their son Harrison in 2015.
Marty and Claudia Kuchinski: of HOPS-MEISTER, LLC is a family owned farm located in Northern California specializing in both Certified Organic and Sustainable estate grown hops for the microbrewing community. HOPS-MEISTER offers fresh picked hops each AUGUST for your fresh hop beers, followed by whole leaf and vacuum sealed pellets, all processed on site.
The white sapote is a relative of citrus. However, it is too distant botanically for the fruit to resemble, be graft compatible, or hybridize with citrus. The white sapote should not be confused with other fruit termed sapote (aka zapote) which only signifies a soft, sweet fruit in the Nahuatl Indian language. The white sapote is a native of central Mexico and appears to be well adapted to any area in California in which oranges can be grown. The fruit is slightly larger than a baseball. The thin, smooth skin is green, yellow, or orange in color. The smooth textured pulp, contained around* 5 to 7 moderate sized seeds, is pleasantly flavored (banana + peach). For some tastes the fruit of many of the cultivars lacks sufficient acidity to offset the sweetness, nevertheless a market for fresh fruit would likely exist if it were not for its poor handling characteristics. No market has been established for preserved products such as jelly, juice or wine. The enormous productivity in combination with a potentially mature height of 30 to 50 feet and an extensive lateral root system make the white sapote a problematical choice for the home garden.
The citrus fruit family, Rutaceae, includes about 900 tropical and temperate species of which citrus are the most commercially important. Other less well known Casimiroa species having edible fruit are the woolly-leafed sapote (C. tetrameria) and matasano (C. sapote).
The seedling white sapote tree grows to 50 feet under ideal conditions; however, many grafted cultivars tend to grow more slowly and can be held between 15 and 20 feet.
The leaves are mostly evergreen, palmately compound with 5 to 6 inch leaflets, and sometimes hairy on the underside. The odorless greenish yellow flowers are 4 or 5 parted and born in axillary panicles The flowers are hermaphrodites; however, the stigmas may prematurely abort. Cross pollination sometimes improves fruit set. The 2 to 6 inch ovoid fruits are borne 6 to 9 months after pollination, generally in October and November. The fruit is soft when ripened and has a smooth consistency with a delicate banana flavor with hints of peach. In poorer varieties and overripe fruit, the bitter overtone predominates along with an unpleasant resinous flavor. Although tree ripened fruit has the best flavor, the fruit is readily bruised and damaged when ripe. Some cultivars can be picked early and ripened to good flavor while others become overly bitter.
The white sapote is hardy northward to Chico except for the desert areas. Frost damage occurs at about 22oF; however, young trees can be damaged at 30oF.
The white sapote prefers well draining soils but will tolerate almost any soil. For healthy trees, the pH should be between 5.5 and 7.5. Salty soil conditions should be avoided.
Spacing and training
The terminal bud should be removed from young trees in order to encourage branching.
The white sapote prefers regular, deep watering. Shallow watering will encourage surface roots which can be a nuisance for the home gardener.
White sapotes prefer regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer. Minor nutrient deficiencies (not a major problem) can be treated as with citrus.
The main purpose of pruning is to control size and secondarily shape.
Pests and Diseases
In California the tree is generally pest free. Black scale, mealy bugs and aphids are occasional problems which are best checked by controlling ants. Snails will damage the fruit. Phytophthora and armillaria are not problems.
Seedlings are considered too variable to be reliable producers of good fruit. Clonal reproduction is normally done by grating and budding as with citrus. Grafted trees bear in 3 to 4 years.
Harvesting and Storage
The poor handling characteristics of the fruit have limited its commercial potential. The very thin skin provides little protection against bruising which is aggravated by the fact that if picked when underripe the fruit will not ripen to full flavor and pick up an unpalatable bitterness. Overripe fruit also becomes bitter. Careful selection of cultivars can mitigate these drawbacks.
Orchard costs should be approximately the same as oranges or less.
White sapotes are seldom available in markets. Development of better handling cultivars would appear to be essential if a market for fresh fruit is to be established. Just as important is the establishment of other uses, for example, those which would allow use of bruised fruits. One challenge is that the delicate flavor of white sapote is easily lost if mixed with other fruits such as lemon to provide a better acid, sweetness balance.
Passion fruit is widely grown and valued throughout the tropics and subtropics. Most Passifloras are vines which can climb to 20 or 30 feet. The fruit varies in color from purple to yellow-orange and in shape from an egg to a tennis ball. Inside its quarter-inch protective rind are numerous small seeds covered by a juicy aromatic, sweet-acidic pulp. The sweeter species are esteemed as a fresh fruit. The seeds are consumed with the pulp. The fruit is more commonly made into juice and often blended with other juices such as orange. The fruit also is used to make excellent ice creams, sherbets, jellies, and pies. The downside of the passion fruit is that most esteemed species are very frost tender. The best adapted to California of the tropical species, the purple granadilla (P. edulis), is prone to soil diseases. However, there is a yellow form which, though not as sweet, is not subject to these diseases. More importantly, the yellow form can be hybridized with the purple or used as a root stock. Marketwise, the United States can not compete in the production of passion fruit juice, and a demand for the fresh fruit has not been established except for a very limited gourmet business.
The family Passifloraceae contains about 550 species of which 400 are in the genus Passiflora. Of these all but about 40 are indigenous to tropical and subtropical America. They are commonly found as understory plants in rain forests. The passifloras are herbaceous and shallow rooted. Leaves are usually alternate. The leaf margin can be toothed or entire.
The unusual flowers are the outstanding characteristic of passifloras and many are grown only for their flowers. The flowers are bisexual, colorful, possessing a complex corolla, and a superior ovary on a gynophore. The flowers were named by missionaries who associated them with the Passion or suffering of Christ (the five petals and five sepals with the ten apostles, the corona with the crown of thorns, the five stamens with the five wounds, etc.).
P. edulis bears 2 to 3 inch spherical to ellipsoidal fruits. The fruits have a tough rind with a white pith adhering to the inside surface, about .3 inches in total thickness, and wrinkled when ripe. Inside is the edible portion consisting of many small black seeds on which adheres a juicy orange colored pulp. The flavor is highly fragrant, sub-acid to acid.
The P. edulis has a subspecies, yellow (P. edulis var. flavicarpa). The yellow form is more acid, less frost tolerant, and less prone to disease. In warmer climates the yellow will out-yield the purple, but this does not seem true with most areas in California.
Yellow and purple passion fruit flowers are perfect but self sterile and require insects to achieve fruit set. Flowers of the purple are self-compatible. They blossom in the spring and early summer. Pollen of the yellow will pollinate the purple, but not vice versa. The fruit of both ripen in 7 to 8 weeks.
Although there are many passiflora species that bear excellent fruit, the edulis is the only species that is sufficiently cold hardy to be grown outside of the banana belts in the milder areas of California. More cold hardy species do exist, but the fruit is not generally preferred to the edulis. Included here is a summary of the characteristics of the more important species:
- P. actinia (sea anemone)
Yellow, 1 inch ellipsoid, fragrant pulp
Can withstand 24oF
Potential rootstock for P. alta and P. quadrangularis
Fruit is at best equal to edulis
- P. alata (fragrant granadilla)
Yellow, 4 inch sphere, white pulp
Frost tender (35oF)
- P. coccinea (red granadilla)
Yellow-orange, 2 inch ellipsoid, white pulp
Amazon basin, frost tender
Often hand pollinated
- P. incarnata (maypop)
Makes good jams
Hardy to 10oF
- P. quadrangularis (giant granadilla)
Green-yellow to deep yellow, 5x10 inch ellipsoid
Yellow to pink pulp
Low elevations in tropics (1,500 to 5,000 feet)
Frost tender (30o - 31oF)
Often hand pollinated
Considered one of the better species
- P. ligularis (sweet granadilla)
Orange yellow, hard shell, 2x3 inch ellipsoid, yellow pulp
High tropics 3,000 to 8,000 feet
Considered one of the better species
Frost tender (30o - 31oF)
- P. laurifolia (water lemon, yellow granadilla, golden apple)
Orange yellow, 2x3 inch ellipsoid, white pulp
Very frost tender
- P. maliformis (sweet calabash)
Yellow-green, 1.5 inches spheroid, white pulp
Grows in high tropics
Frost tender 30oF
- P. mollissima (Tacsonia mollissima) (banana passion fruit)
Yellow, 2.5 inch banana shaped, good quality. white pulp
Can survive 28oF
Planted in more frost prone areas of California
The purple edulis is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina. This area has a humid, near-tropical climate. The yellow edulis subspecies is native to the Amazon basin and perhaps a hybrid of the purple and P. ligularis.
The optimal growing temperatures are 68 to 82 degrees. Passion fruit likes full sun along the coast, but inland full sun should be avoided since it does like hot, dry heat.
Passion fruit grow best in fast draining soils (sandy loam) with a pH 6.5 to 7. Drainage is particularly important for the purple subspecies since it is susceptible to soil diseases. Since the roots of plants are shallow, planting in raised beds can help provide the necessary drainage. The plants benefit from mulching.
Spacing and training
Passion fruit are usually planted on 8 to 12 foot centers and trained on strong supports in a fashion similar to grapes. They are also cordoned on walls or flat trellises.
Passion fruit require a lot of water, particularly inland. However, careful attention must be paid to watering since overwatering can help further detrimental diseases and underwatering can leave the shallow roots too dry.
Passion fruit require frequent application of balanced fertilizer during growing season. In winter plants may be chlorotic (yellow between the veins of leaves) due to cold soil temperatures.
Since the passion vines are vigorous growers, pruning is necessary to keep the plants to a desirable size, to remove tangles, and to remove deadwood. The plants are vigorous and can be pruned anytime; however, pruning just before spring flush is preferred.
Pests and Diseases
The purple passion fruit is subject to fusarium wilt, nematode attack, and crown rot and, therefore, may require replanting every 3 to 4 years. Planting on mounds or ridges is recommended for better drainage. Fungicide sometimes is used on the crown in wet season. The yellow form is resistant to wilt and nematodes and, therefore, is occasionally used as a rootstock for the purple; however, both are subject to Phytophthora cinnamoni. Other possible rootstocks worthy of trial for California are P. caerulea and P. coccinea. Snails will strip leaves if not controlled, and thrips can be a problem on seedlings.
Plants can be propagated by seed; however, the progeny are variable. Fresh seeds are far easier to propagate than seeds that are older than a month or two. Seeds should not be exposed to light until they have germinated. Older seeds can be soaked in tea or coffee for at least one day to improve germination. Fresh seeds will germinate in 1 to 3 weeks; older seed may take months. Plants will bear in 2 or 3 years.
An easy method of propagation and one that will preserve characteristics of the parent is by rooted cuttings. Misting or enclosing in a humid atmosphere (a plastic bag enclosing a pot will do for an occasional rooting) improves the success rate. Grafting is also used to propagate purple passion fruit on disease resistant rootstock (P. flavicarpa).
Harvesting and Storage
Fruit can be harvested when it has turned from green to purple or yellow or allowed to drop if gathered from the ground daily. Unrefrigerated fruit will last 2 to 4 weeks, paraffin coated and refrigerated at 40o to 44oF it may be kept for more than a month./h2>/h2>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>
The star fruit, or carambola, is a member of the oxalis family. Only one other species is commonly cultivated for its fruit, the less esteemed, more frost sensitive Averrhoa bilimbi. The star fruit is native to Sri Lanka and popular throughout southeast Asia, India, southern China, New Zealand, and Australia. The tree is well adapted to a variety of tropical and subtropical climates and is now cultivated in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America and to a lesser extent, Israel. The main restricting factor in California is frost, the tree being about as cold hardy as limes. The golden-yellow fruit is 3 to 8 inches long and 2 to 4 inches in width with an star shaped cross section. The thin skin, appears waxy but is edible. The sweet to acid flesh is juicy, crisp and mild flavored and usually eaten fresh. It makes an extremely attractive fresh or cooked garnish when cut to reveal its 5 or 6 pointed star cross section. It is also made into relishes and chutneys. The sourer varieties contain more oxalic acid and can be used for polishing brass and removing rust stains. The wood is used for furniture and construction. The fruit is used medicinally as a folk remedy for a large number of maladies including hangover.
The oxalis family, Oxalidaceae, includes about 1,000 species which are mainly subtropical and tropical and usually herbs and shrubs. The carambola is a slow growing tree eventually reaches 20 to 30 feet under ideal conditions. The tree is deciduous. The 6 to 10 inch leaves are spirally arranged and divided into 5 to 11 opposite 1 to 3.5 inch leaflets. The lilac pink .3 inch flowers are borne from the axils of the leaves. Cross pollination sometimes improves fruit set. The longitudinally ribbed, ellipsoidal fruits are borne 6 to 9 months after pollination, generally in late fall and winter. Fruits very greatly in acidity, from very acid to sweet. The cross section of the fruit ranges from a distinct star to a more roundish shape. The fruit can be seedless or contain up to a dozen .25 to .5 inch, flat, brown seeds.
Young trees can be killed if temperatures go below 32oF. Mature trees can withstand short periods of 27oF.
The carambola prefers well draining slightly acid soils. Salty soil conditions should be avoided.
Spacing and training
Trees should be planted on 15 to 20 foot centers in a sunny location. No special training is recommended.
The star fruit needs moist conditions and must receive regular watering in the summer and even during dry periods in the winter.
Regular applications of nitrogen rich fertilizer should be applied every 60 to 90 days. Deficiencies of minors can be a problem and can be treated as with citrus.
The main purpose of pruning is to control size and secondarily shape.
Pests and Diseases
In California the tree is generally pest free.
Seedlings are considered too variable to be reliable producers of large, sweet fruit. Clonal reproduction is normally done by cleft or veneer grating. Grafted trees bear in 2 to 4 years. Air layering is difficult because of poor root formation.
Harvesting and Storage
The handling characteristics of the fruit are not well established. Bruising could be be a problem; however, fruits are shipped successfully from the United States to Europe. The fruits are sensitive to storage temperatures, 50o F being the optimal.
Fiscal Orchard costs should be approximately the same as oranges.
A market for star fruits is well established in the Asian community. Elsewhere, star fruits are not well known and are only available in stores with gourmet produce counters. Competition from importation into California would appear to be limited due to the severe fruit fly problems associated with star fruit and the inability to retain the desired crispness characteristic of star fruit through sterilization processing. Development of more frost resistant varieties would decrease the financial risks associated with this crop.
The cherimoya is regarded by many as being among the best of tropical fruits. The cherimoya has a texture of a soft, non-gritty pear and a delicate, highly appealing fruit flavor with little acidity. Cherimoyas usually are eaten fresh; however they are excellent in ice cream and sherbets. The seeds, leaves, and limbs contain poisonous alkaloids that have been used to kill lice. Taken internally, these alkaloids act as an emetic and cathartic and should be regarded as poisonous. The biggest drawbacks in production in California are that the flowers usually require hand pollination to ensure a good set of fruit, and ripen over an extended period; however, from a marketing standpoint these shortcomings can be turned into advantages. A recent appearance or introduction into the Santa Barbara area, of the trash beetle or Rove beetle (Staphylinidae), may provide sufficient pollination to eliminate the need for hand pollination. The species is not readily grown outside of its native (high elevation tropics) habitat. In the United States, only the southern California coastal climates are conducive to cherimoya production. Southeast Asians and Hispanics prize the fruit and a national market has been established in gourmet groceries. The fruit commands a premium price in these limited market places.
The Annonaceae family consists of 50 genera of which Annona (about 100 species) and Rollinia (about 50 species) are the most important commercially. The most esteemed of the fruits of this family is theAnnona cherimola. The family is tropical and semi-deciduous in habit. The cherimoya drops its leaves in late spring (or early summer) after which it blooms. Its leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical (1.5 to 3.5 inches wide by 3 to 6 inches long) with a slightly hairy upper surface.
The family exhibits a protogynous dichogamous flowering habit, that is, complete flowers in which the stigma is receptive before the pollen is ready to shed from the anthers. This condition is very important in cherimoya since the configuration of its flowers is not conducive to pollination by natural means. Therefore, pollination is done by hand: pollen is usually collected in the late afternoon or evening, stored in a cool place, and applied to the mature stigmas which are usually receptive in the morning. Cherimoya flowers, borne solitary or in groups of 2 or 3, are pendulous having three fleshy petals, a green to brown exterior, white interior, and are 1 to 2 inches in length.
As is typical of the family, the cherimoya fruit is formed by the fusion or partial fusion of the carpels resulting in a more or less bumpy fruit with many seeds. Cherimoyas ripen in 5 to 8 months after pollination changing in color from a darker to a light green or greenish tan, 3 to 8 inch ovoid weighing 1/2 to 6 lbs. In California fruit ripens from November to June.
Other members of the family that are grown for their fruit are:
- Sugar apple or custard apple (Annona squamosa)
- Atemoya (A. squamosa & A. cherimola)
- Soursop (Annona muricata)
- Ilama (Annona diversifolia)
- Bullock's heart (Annona reticulata)
- Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa)
- Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
Annona squamosa resembles the cherimoya in texture and flavor and, since it is the more widely adaptable to humid conditions, it is the most widely planted in the more tropical parts of the world.
All of the species grown for fruit require a tropical or semitropical climate except for the pawpaw which is native to temperate North America. Moreover, all but the cherimoya are better adapted to wet tropical conditions. The cherimoya's home is the highland tropics which are often characterized as areas of eternal spring with temperatures seldom straying from the 60'so (F). There are wet and dry seasons with typical annual rainfalls being about 50 inches.
The cherimoya is adaptable to Mediterranean climates. In addition to San Diego and Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in the United States, significant commercial plantings have been made in Chile, Spain, Peru, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Italy.
The cherimoya requires a relatively frost-free environment similar to lemons (short periods of 26oF for mature trees of hardy varieties). Some chilling seems beneficial (50 to 100 hours between 32oF and 45oF). However, a sunny location is needed since sufficient heat is required to develop a good flavor (inland, protection from extremely hot temperatures and dry winds is more important). In California most varieties do well extending 3 to 15 miles inland from the ocean. Further inland, care must be exercised in selecting a variety that will do well. The cherimoya will not tolerate prolonged high humidity, such as is encountered in Florida.
The most critical soil requirement is that of good drainage. Sandy loam or decomposed granite is preferred, but cherimoyas will succeed on many soil types with pH 5 to 8.
Trees are normally planted on 20 to 25 foot centers in California. Tighter centers are used where intensive pruning is employed.
Cherimoyas respond to fertilizer applications generally provided every 3 months with a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8. Yellow leaves may not indicate a need for fertilizer but may be a response to cold temperatures or to the soil being too dry or wet.
Train to 2 scaffold branches. Severe pruning (2/3 of new growth) is popular in order to aid in picking. Only shoots that are approximately 60 degrees from trunk are normally saved.
Pests and Diseases
Cherimoyas are generally disease free. They are susceptible to Armillaria (oak root fungus) and Verticillium wilt. Good drainage and watering practices will minimize these problems. Similarly crown rot can occur if care is not taken in keeping the crown of the tree relatively dry. Ants are a problem since they promote mealy bugs on the fruit. Ants are most easily controlled by limiting access from the ground by placing a mechanical or acceptable chemical barrier on the trunk of the tree.
Although seedlings have a good probability of producing acceptable fruit, trees are normally grafted or budded on seedling rootstock to ensure reliable results. Grafting is done in the spring at or before leaf drop. Scion wood should be collected just before leaf drop. Plants also can be rooted from cuttings, although it is somewhat difficult. Seed has good viability for 2 to 3 years if stored properly.
Harvesting and Storage
Harvesting is done by hand while the fruit is still firm on the tree (February to April depending on location). The crop is normally hand pollinated to ensure a long harvest season. Ripeness of fruit must be determined by the color of fruit. Depending on the variety, the fruit turns from a deep green to a light green or greenish tan.
The fruit is packed in single layer containers to prevent bruising. If stored, temperatures should not go below 50° F.
The fiscal aspects of orchard investment are similar to that of lemons.
Market has exceeded demand and supported a significantly higher market price which offsets the need for hand pollination and picking./h2>/h2>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>