Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pomegranate and Pumpkin Season Here At Windmill Farm

My hands will tell you what I have been doing lately.  They are stained purple and most of my gardening clothes have spots of purple stains splattered all over them.  Yes, it is pomegranate season!

For 2 weeks, we picked a row of pomegranates every day, sorted them by size and condition.  I must say the crop this year has been pretty wonderful, in spite of lack of rain and very few times of watering the trees.  We tried to pick only the biggest poms with no splits the first go around.  

I started my social media marketing on Facebook and craigslist.  It was slow going at first, I believe because it was in the high 80 degree weather and for some reason, pomegranates are thought of in cool weather terms.  It is a real killer when I saw that the grocery stores were selling medium sized poms for $3.00 each and I am selling large-ex-large sized ones, in a box of at least 25+ for $10.00.  We sell our jumbo perfects for $1 each.
The 2nd go around picking on the trees showed some minor splits in the poms mainly due to the fact that we had a blink of an eye, rain storm.  Rain always causes poms to split.  
After having a few cases of splits in the sorting shed, I decided to bring out my pom juicer and started making juice.  It is actually very fun, I set myself a system of a case of splits on one side, my cutting board and juicer in the middle and an empty case to throw the juiced poms on the left. It is a hand crank, pull the lever down type juicer, but really, not that hard of a job.

Frank purchased new, one gallon jugs and I purchased 32 oz. plastic containers from Cash and Carry.  I also decided to try out doing 16 oz., water bottle sized containers to give to people to try the juice or little gifts to people.  The juice seems to have been more popular that I thought.  After mentioning we do have juice on Facebook, several of our customers called to order their sized container.  So much so, I am juicing every day any pomegranates split that Frank picks that day, a regular assembly line of boxes to sell; boxes to juice.

Worst part about juicing is if I get started, I sometimes forget to change my shirt to one I already have stained and end up with another shirt to add to the pomegranate stained wardrobe.  Luckily, the sorting shed has concrete (but now stained pomegranates colored floors) that can be washed; stainless steel table and sink that gets washed every batch.

Oh, and now all my sorting shed hand towels and large towels are stained purple.

In between the juicing, I have been picking and selling pumpkins and received a few orders for flowers to be presented inside a pumpkin.  I can never resist using whatever the gardens produce in my arrangements.  And since we still are getting cherry tomatoes and basil in the garden, I added some of those, along with dill to the flower arrangement.

Who said when you get to retirement years, you travel and are able to sit and read all the day long.  Not at Windmill Farm!!!  I told a friend the other day who was talking about a great book she was reading, that I don't read books anymore.  I only have time to read short articles in magazines or just look at the pictures. The outside gardens, lawns and trees keep calling my name to come outside and see what we are producing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wedding Flowers; Pomegranates Ripe

Our pomegranate season has started.  We are picking each day hoping to beat any forcasted rain or before they pop open.  Frank and I did something different this year.  What we used to do is each take a side of a row and pick all around the trees and place the poms on the ground.  When we finished a row, Frank would bring the tractor and we would fill the bucket with the picked poms and then take them over to the shed for me to sort sizes and condition.
Did you know that pomegranate trees are filled with thorns??  The fruit is not easy to pick and your hands get all poked and cut.  Yesterday Frank got a blood running down his face from a thorn scraping across his nose.  This year, I remembered we had a kid's blue plastic tub in the yard for the dogs to get wet in.  We put the big round plastic wading pool on a pallet and brought it into the rows, elevated at arms height.  So as we were picking, we just put the poms in the wading pool, only handling them once in the field.  When full, Frank took the pallet over to shed and he was able to drop it off and still use the tractor for other things while I sorted.  Less bending, easy accessibility.
We are selling the pomegranates very reasonable by the small, medium, large sizes and small, medium, large case sizes.  Also selling the jumbo poms for $1 each and yesterday I saw them in the stores, maybe a medium sized one for $3.  If interested in any of our pomegranates, give us a call.
My last wedding of the season went well.  I thought the flowers turned out beautiful.  We used many from our farm gardens, but the bride wanted carnations, baby breath and lisianathus which I do not have. The Mom had a contact that went to SF flower mart and got us several bucket full which saved the day.

Luckily, I had the help to do all of this from a good friend, Sarah.  We made 20 large table arrangements; 15 boutonnieres; 1 Bride's bouquet; 9 Bridesmaid bouquets; table greens, 3 corsages.

The bride's colors were pinks, mauves, taupes, violet, purples, with greens from hydrangeas.

Lots of photos of flowers, I love how the corsages turned out.
Sad to say our growing season is ending for flowers and produce.  I did pick a huge basket full of egg plant and picked apples for the roadside stand out front.  And of course, all our pumpkins are ready along with the poms.