02/17/17 — Heydon Hatcher
In case you missed it, our best and biggest transplant sale yet is quickly approaching! It’s slated for the first three weekends in March, and we cannot wait. The greenhouses are full of baby veggies, fruits, and herbs all ready for you to jumpstart that backyard garden. We have really begun to focus on diversifying our crop offerings over the past couple of years, with fruits on the forefront of this vast endeavor. We started pear, pomegranate, and fig orchards last year with expansion plans currently in the works, along with our table grapes (which will be readily available at markets this summer!). While this year we are planting a muscadine orchard, comprising of four black varieties, and planting a large number of persimmons. The muscadine enterprise is one that I hold close to my heart, as cultivating this specific crop is one that evaded me in the original backyard garden. I had 17 varieties of muscadine growing on a trellis system that existed on the periphery of the yard that failed to thrive. This crop prospers in acidic soil, and I have a couple ideas on how to get this fruit to successfully develop this time around.
I have always had an affinity for growing fruits (we had plums, pears, loquats, limes, persimmons, and the aforementioned muscadines growing in the original backyard garden), but took an inexplicable hiatus until now. My once dormant fervor for fruit is wide awake and rarin’ to go now, though! Our transplant sale menu is epic this year: 40 tomato varieties, 4 kinds of squash, 20 kinds of peppers, okra, 20 types of herbs, bok choy, several types of lettuce, eggplant, cucumbers, figs, pears, grapes, melons, watermelon, persimmons, pomegranates, and satsumas! The second weekend, our greenhouse manager, Brandon, will be hosting a gardening workshop, too. Learn more about that here.
Speaking of satsumas, I spent one day this week driving to West Columbia, TX to acquire some citrus trees, and to be honest, it felt like the middle of nowhere! Have you ever had a satsuma? It’s a cold-hardy mandarin that originated in China, but made it’s way west from Japan in the late 19th century. It’s a seedless, succulent, and wonderfully sweet (even sweeter when it’s cold) mandarin orange that thrives in lower Southeast United States. My father who lives in Enterprise, Alabama has a tree… and when I visited him for Thanksgiving, it looked like it was going to break in half it was so laden with satsumas. Fun fact: Satsuma, Alabama was named after this fruit, and is only two hours away from Enterprise. He kindly gifted me a tree a couple years ago, and it has been abundantly and unremittingly bearing fruit this season. I had so many that I delivered the bulk of the harvest to the farmers market for the community to enjoy!
I digress, but my zeal for these new crops has me reeling. We have done so much research on the fruits that will thrive in our region, and are earnestly attempting to expand our offerings to you, our community, in your CSA box and also at our transplant sale. Most of the fruits that grocery stores offer and people love do not deal well with the Central Texas climate, so we are aspiring to provide native fruits to you. I deem the job of nurseryman as a noble role in the community, and feel very proud to be offering these fruits, veggies, and herbs. We feel that they are something of true value, and delicious to boot.
‘Til next time y’all!
PS - If you are interested in volunteering at one or all of the three weekends of the transplant sale, email email@example.com with “transplant sale” mentioned in the title line. We would be so happy to have you!
We are also hiring for three jobs currently - if you want to get your hands dirty, work hard, and meet some cool folks, check out the listings here!