Why aren’t we selling our Satsuma Mandarins yet?

adrian-picking watermarked

Adrian tests fruit every few days to determine when it is time to start our harvest

This past week we have noticed local Satsuma mandarin growers selling their fruit from farm stands and stores in our area. We are in the fortunate position of having a small orchard, with only enough supply to meet demand. Because we are so small, we harvest all of the fruit ourselves, testing each tree with a brix refractometer to make sure the sugar is high, then tasting the fruit to make sure we like it. Once enough fruit in the orchard meets these standards we begin a small harvest, picking only the fruit that is the correct deep shade of orange. We will go back through the orchard many times during the season, choosing only the fruit that meets our sugar, flavor and color specifications. Usually there is some fruit on the trees every year that never makes the grade, and that fruit is not sold at all.

This time of year, every few days we head out to the orchard to pick a few mandarins and determine if there are enough ripe mandarins to begin our harvest. When the harvest is ready, we will post on this page and email our customers who have been patiently waiting since the end of last season. We are sorry that right now we do not have mandarins to sell. We expect them to be ready sometime between Thanksgiving and beginning of December, but the decision really is out of our hands. We leave that one to mother nature.

Thank you for your patience. We love our customers.

The Burgesons

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

Reproduction of any content in the article without the written permission of the author is prohibited.

http://www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

The first citrus of the season are here: Limes!

key-and-bearss-limes

The first citrus of the season to ripen in our Sierra Foothill Location are limes. These will be followed by Satsuma Mandarins, then Meyer lemons, Oro Blanco Pomelos and finally Blood and Navel Oranges as we progress into the winter. We are now harvesting and selling Key limes and Bearss limes grown on our farm here in Newcastle.

Most supermarket limes are grown in Mexico, harvested when they are barely ripe, shipped to the US and often stored for weeks before purchase. They tend to be low in juice content due to these harvest conditions.

In contrast, our limes are grown right here in the Sierra Foothills of California, using no pesticides or herbicides, and they ripen to perfection in the autumn sun. As limes ripen they color up from dark green, to a lighter green, and then finally yellow. We pick them at the light green stage, sometimes with a touch of yellow, and they are very juicy and flavorful. They are harvested TO ORDER, and when they reach you we guarantee they will be the juiciest limes you have ever purchased.

If you would like to order limes to pick up from the farm, please contact us using this contact information.

You can also order a box of limes shipped to any address in the continental US.

To order a postal service flat rate box of mixed key limes and Bearss limes (7-8 pounds of fruit will be in the box) for 20 dollars (plus 13 dollars USPS flat rate shipping) click on this link.

Try these delicious recipe for our juicy limes: creamy citrus pops, key lime pie

 

 

Pomegranates: How to get to the seeds; how to make juice

Pomegranates are such a beautiful, nutritious fruit that it is a shame that so few people get the chance to enjoy them. Many are intimidated by the process of removing the seeds, and obtaining juice from the seeds is even more overwhelming. But the delicious reward for your endeavours is unequaled, and it really can be a relatively clean and painless process if done correctly.

Often the pomegranates you buy in the store have been picked before they are fully ripe. The best pomegranates are the ones that are so ripe they have started to crack. Obviously at this point they do not store well but this is when the color is the darkest and they are the most sweet. We try to pick our pomegranates right before they crack. Unfortunately when I picked today we had waited so long many of them looked like this.

perfectly-ripe-pomegranate-1

I won’t be able to sell this pomegranate but it will make great juice and it will be easy to open!

We use most of the pomegranates we grow to make juice. We love to
mix the juice with tonic water, or spirits such as vodka or tequila to make
cocktails. It also can be boiled down to make pomegranate syrup to use in
cooking.

We tried using citrus presses and other easy methods to make
the juice, but we have found that the skin and pulp impart bitter flavors to the juice
so we have gone back to using a somewhat laborious method which involves
first removing the seeds from the pomegranate, then getting juice from the
seeds.

Here is how to get the seeds from the pomegranate:

First remove the skin from the top and bottom of the
pomegranate. Cut around the circumference but only through the skin, not
deep enough to cut the seeds. This will prevent the task from becoming a big juicy mess!

pomegranate-slice-top-1

Cut around the circumference of the pomegranate both top and bottom but do not cut through the seeds, only through the skin.

Now peel off the skin. Notice the seeds are whole.This is because they were not cut with the knife.

peeling-top-off-1

Peeling off the top and bottom to reveal the lovely seeds inside.

There can be some pomegranate spray, so I usually do this step and the steps afterwards holding the pomegranate under a bowl full of water.  The water contains almost every bit of spray. If I do this while watching TV rather than outside or in the kitchen, I cover the sofa with an old sheet as an extra precaution.

Now cut from top to bottom in about 5 or 6 locations around the perimeter of the pomegranate. Again, these are shallow cuts that only cut the skin, not the seeds.

slicing-sides-1

Now  break the pomegranate apart along the natural segments, and remove the seeds from each segment. This is less messy if it is done under water.

breaking-apart-the-pomegranate-in-water_edited-1

Note the natural segments of seeds that have separated from the skin and membrane.  Gently scrap away those seeds from the membrane and let them drop into the water.

The white pulp will float to the top and the seeds will sink to
the bottom of the water. Now skim the pulp off the top of the water,
and strain the seeds, and they are ready to go.

skimming-the-water

If you dry the seeds on a cloth and then store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator, with folded paper towels on the top of the seeds, they can last for weeks. You can sprinkle them on salad, on your yogurt and oatmeal or just grab handfuls for snacks.

If you want to take it to the next level, you can make juice.

Here is a huge soup pot filled with pomegranate seeds ready for making juice.
Adrian often does this job while he is watching TV. He covers the sofa with a sheet because he prefers to not use the water, so it can become a somewhat messy job. Check out that sheet. Sometimes it looks like a massacre has occurred in our living room!the-pomegranate-seeds-1

The juice can be made with either raw or cooked pomegranates. We have found it is somewhat sweeter if we cook them. If you are planning to make juice and do not have a juice press, you should heat them to get the maximum yield. Put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot, smash them down slightly with a potato masher to release more liquid, put on the cover, and slowly heat the pomegranates, stirring occasionally, until they have come to a simmer and have broken down but have not boiled, and the juice has been released. Then let them cool.

These are the pomegranates after heating and cooling. They are now ready to be pressed.

pomegranates-after-heating-1

Cooked pomegranate seeds ready to be made into juice.

The seeds are then placed into a juice bag which we purchased, along with our little tabletop press, at The Beverage People, which is in Santa Rosa. We have also seen small tabletop presses for sale at O’hara Brew House Supply in Auburn. Ours is an Italian Fruit Press and is made by Ferrari. You can also use a large piece of muslin if you are planning to squeeze the juice by hand.

the-pressing-1 (1)

Pouring seeds and juice into tabletop press

Before we had this tabletop press, we used a large old wine press we had, and before that we just used muslin or a cloth bag and squeezed by hand. The little tabletop press is by far the best way to go when you have a lot of pomegranates and are planning to make juice every year.

If you are doing this by hand, just place the pomegranate seeds in a fine mesh strainer and let the juice run out freely. Then put the seeds in a muslin bag or in the middle of a large muslin piece and twist the top until the juice is squeezed out of the bag. Continue to twist and squeeze the bag or fabric until you can get as much juice out as possible. You can get about 3/4 of the juice out without using a press. We got about 1 cup of juice per pound of seeds squeezing by hand. This is the seeds from 2 large pomegranates.

We put the bag of pomegranate seeds in the press, gradually
screw it down to create pressure on the seeds and the juice runs out of the
spout into our collection device.press-3

This may be the best pomegranate juice you have ever tasted!

From there we pour it into bottles and freeze or can it to use year round.

Nutrition Note: pomegranates are high in phyto-nutrients
associated with a reduction in disease. Much of the strongest research has suggested that eating pomegranates or drinking the juice can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The research on reducing the risk of prostate cancer has been especially promising.

We have pomegranates for sale on the farm now. Please contact us using this link to place an order.

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

Creamy citrus pops

Citrus season on Burgeson Family Farm always starts with the lime harvest. Before the very hot summers have faded to the crisp days of autumn we treat ourselves to cool lime-centric drinks on the porch in the evening: gin and tonic, greyhound and margarita cocktails and sparkling water on ice with generous wedges of lime plucked from the tree just minutes before. When I walk by the trees, laden with fruit, it is almost impossible for me to resist grabbing a lime, scratching the aromatic rind and inhaling the intoxicating aroma.

limes-with-flowers

Limes on the trees at Burgeson Family Farm. Note the bees are at work pollinating a new crop which will be ready in the spring. It is uncommon for us to have 2 crops in one year but it looks like it will happen this year.

This is the pop recipe that “started it all”, the pop obsession in our family. Lime pops are so cool, creamy and tart; it takes only 3 ingredients and minutes to make the mix, and to me they are more satisfying and delicious than a key lime pie.  This recipe will work with any limes, either the small little Key limes with their intense acidity and aroma and multitude of tiny seeds, or the big juicy seedless Bearss limes, or even store bought supermarket Mexican limes. We have also made this recipe with lemons which make a kind of frozen lemon meringue pie pop.key-and-bearss-limes

 

Key limes on the left and Bearss limes on the right

(Many people think that only key limes are yellow but all limes will turn more yellow when they are very ripe. Note the Bearrs limes are actually more yellow than the Key limes.)

If there is a farmer in your area growing limes, I urge you to  buy some at least once to make this, or your cocktails, with them.  Most of the limes in the grocery stores are shipped from Mexico, and they are far from freshly picked. The oils in the zest of a freshly picked lime add so much to the flavor of this recipe. You may want to keep one on hand to “scratch and sniff” for a pick me up.

3 Ingredient Creamy Lime Pop Recipe

For this recipe you need only 3 ingredients:

Limes (4-5 large ones or about 10-14 small ones)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces) (I use organic)

1 ½ cups of non-fat Greek yogurt (I use organic, usually either Straus, Clover or Wallaby because I have actually seen their farms and “happy cows” as I travel about Northern California)

(Note, if you want a creamier, more decadent pop, you can replace some, or all of the Greek yogurt with softly whipped cream. Now you really have an ice cream bar!)

Finely zest the rind from the limes. I love this little tool, a microplane grater, for making a very fine zest:microplane-grater-rind

You should have 2 Tablespoons of zest. Note the beautiful fine zest this tool makes.

a-fine-lime-zest

Squeeze the juice from enough limes to make ½ cup.  This handy citrus juicer makes that task a breeze.

juicing-limes

Put the juice and zest in a bowl. Stir in the condensed milk.  Add the Nonfat Greek yogurt and/or whipped cream and mix well. I use a hand whisk. You can also whip it in a blender which will make the mixture fluffy and the pops will be more light and creamy once frozen.

whisking-ingredients

(I like to mix it in a measuring cup with a pour spout for easy pouring into the molds).

Note: These are high in protein and low in fat (see the analysis below). If you would like the recipe to be even higher in protein and lower in sugar and fat, you can add more of the Greek yogurt. That can be done according to your taste, as it will make them tart.  They also will be a bit less creamy.

Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds. This recipe will make 10 popsicles of about 1/2 cup each.

filling-pop-molds

If you don’t have molds you can use small paper cups, but I urge you to consider buying some popsicle molds. They are the most used piece of kitchen equipment we have purchased in a long time.

Put the popsicle sticks in the molds.

insert-sticks

Don’t shove the sticks all the way to the bottom. That will leave a short stick for eating. The mixture should be thick enough to suspend the sticks at the right depth. If not, freeze for awhile and then insert the sticks about halfway into the molds.

Now put the molds in a flat spot in your freezer and patiently wait for at least 4-6 hours for them to freeze completely all the way through. The sticks must be completely frozen in the middle of the pop.

To remove the popsicles from the molds put some very hot water in a glass. (I heat the water in the glass for a minute or two in the microwave). Dip the pop in the hot water for 10-20 seconds or so, until it slightly releases from the sides of the mold. Now squeeze the mold a bit to loosen the pop, hold the pop with the handle facing down and slide it out of the mold. If it does not come out easily, do not pull too hard on the stick or it might come out of the pop. Instead, heat it in the water again until it releases easily.

You can refreeze the pops on a tray until they are very hard, so they don’t stick together, then store them in a container or plastic bag in the freezer. They theoretically will last a long time, but practically speaking, it is doubtful they will be around all that long. They are that good.

pops

Creamy Lime Pops

Nutrition Analysis per Pop (Makes 10):

152 calories, 6 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat,

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

Key Lime Pie

The first citrus crop to ripen on our farm are limes. The harvest starts in early Fall.

We grow both key limes and Bearss limes on our farm here in Newcastle, California. Both are tart, juicy and delicious and can be used in this recipe. The Key limes are small, with many seeds, and are a bit more tart than the Bearss limes, which are seedless, large and juicy. Both limes will turn more yellow as the season progresses.

key lime with signature_edited-1

This recipe is for a delicious, easy frozen key lime pie.  It is so refreshing after a rich  meal and it is so simple to prepare.

Easy Frozen Key Lime Pie 

Use any recipe you like, or purchase a premade graham cracker crust:

Mix until blended:

1 Tablespoon grated lime rind

1/2 cup of lime juice

1 can of sweetened condensed milk.

Fold in:

1 cup of whipped cream (or for a lower fat version you can use Greek yogurt to replace some, or all of the cream)

Pour this into the pie shell and freeze until solid (at least 3 hours).

You can also top with more whipped cream and shredded lime rind to pretty this sweet treat up.

Do you wonder how you can purchase our Key Limes? Contact our farm to arrange to pick them up.

 

Tough year on the farm.

It is November 13, 2017, and usually by now I have sent emails out to our usual customers with instructions for pre-ordering shipped Satsuma mandarin boxes or bags of mandarins from our farm. This year, no one has received that email, and the phone calls are coming in. What is up with us here on the farm?

In October, our sister farm, Leisen’s Bridgeway Farms, was consumed by the fires in Santa Rosa. My sister Janet Leisen and her husband Corrie lost everything in the fires. The barn, the rental house, the home, most of the trees, the tractor, the walk in for storing produce, the vintage car, the irrigation equipment…everything. My niece, her husband and their two young children who lived nearby also lost their home and everything on their property. We have been preoccupied with helping them and other residents of Santa Rosa however we can. The time has flown by and our normal fall routine was interrupted.

The community in my home town of Santa Rosa, and my family, are in for a long process of rebuilding from the ashes. After the media has moved on to the next news cycle, they will still be struggling and will need all the help that they can get. If you feel concern and would like to help, cash donations are the most useful at this time. The infrastructure for donated item distribution has been overwhelmed so I have noticed first hand the inability of fire victims to be able to obtain, store and utilize donated items.

There is a go fund me account to support Leisen’s Bridgeway farms.

https://www.gofundme.com/leisenfamilyfirefund

There is also a general fund providing support to all the fire victims in the Northern California Fires.

https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief

The other bad news is that with recent changes in weather last year and this year again, we have had extreme heat in the early spring.  As farmers we believe in man made climate change as we are personally seeing the effects. This heat has led to extensive “fruit drop” where our mandarins drop most of the baby fruit on the ground early in the season.

dried mandarins

Early season heat spells caused the small mandarin fruit to shrivel on the tree.

dried mandarins 3That fruit then dropped to the ground, causing significant loss of our crop for the year.

As a result, we have the smallest mandarin crop in years. We will not be taking orders online for shipped gift boxes at all this year.

We plan to sell mandarins in bags from our farm once we start harvest in a few weeks. We may have a few boxes available at that time to ship to our established customers depending upon harvest conditions.

If you would like to be updated on the progression of the harvest, and supply, and to be notified when harvest begins, please send an email to us and we will put you on the email notification list.

Thank you for your support of our small farm.

Dayna Burgeson

 

 

 

 

 

Farmers/Environmentalists/Land Stewards

As farmers we are reminded daily that we are dependent upon the health of our planet for everything. The environmental agenda has taken a backseat in politics recently and as a result we are very concerned about the long term prognosis of the human species on this very small planet. We all must take individual and collective action to help protect the only earth we have in any way we can. As a family we are trying to do our part. When one does not like the way things are, volunteer in whatever way you can to make a difference. It is empowering and you will receive more than you give. We are so proud as a family to have received the Placer Land Trust’s Land Steward award this year. And we love this little youtube video they made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqFwwCiD6KY