- Author: Karen Metz
I got the chance to visit a farm recently on Molokai. Amongst other things, they grow macadamia trees, Macadamia integrifolia. They had about fifty trees on their farm that had been there since the 1920s. Farmer Purdy explained that macadamia nuts start off as pale, slender, bottle-brush shaped flower clusters. The flower cluster is pollinated by bees and later forms small green nuts. The nuts grow and when they are ripe, they fall to the ground. The family gathers the nuts daily from the orchard floor. Harvest is essentially year round. The family then husks them, dries them, cracks them and roasts them without any preservatives.
The farmer said that because his is a small multi-crop farm, he has not found the need for any insecticides. The only thing he spreads around the trees is ashes from the burned leaves that he rakes up daily. He stressed that because the crop is picked up from the ground, the orchard must be kept very clean. It was so unique to look up into the tree and see every stage of the nuts' life cycle all growing at the same time. And cool to think of a year round harvest.
- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
Here’s a suggestion that, if acted upon, may add some names to Santa’s “Nice” list. What if we all donated our surplus, homegrown produce and it was distributed to those in need?
Solano County is a longtime fruit-growing region. Agriculture is still king here, largely because our climate is perfect for growing a variety of crops. Homeowners have long taken advantage of our glorious climate, planting citrus trees, pomegranates, persimmons, or maintaining old walnut, pecan and almond trees that happen to stand in their yards. Right about now, all of those trees are heavy with fruit and nuts.
Sadly, a good deal of this bounty goes to waste. Homeowners are often too busy or physically unable to harvest in time. And, ironically, there are lots of Solano County residents who don’t have regular access to fresh, locally grown produce.
See where I’m heading with this?
Wouldn’t it be cool if we all could step up and help, either by donating fruits or nuts from our own yards, or by volunteering to help with the harvesting? It can be done, and quite easily. Here are two local volunteer organizations that exist to share the wealth of Solano County produce. Share this information with your neighbors who have an overabundance of produce:
— The Vacaville Produce Pipeline. Call Fern Henry, 448-4792, or visit http://vacaproducepipeline.blogspot.com
— The Fairfield-Suisun Produce Pipeline. Call Karyl Hendrick, 399-7080, or visit http://fsproducepipeline.blogspot.com
Merry Christmas and happy New Year. May all your citrus be Solano grown!