April 25, 2015: Bella Ridge Farm Tour

Ted Richarson hosted a tour at his Bella Ridge Farm, a small, 2 acre, CCOF certified farm outside of Occidental.

We toured his over 300 fruit trees including apples, pears (European and Asian varieties), peaches, pluots, plums and more. The tour showcased a low-chill growing area and associated challenges, pests and diseases, and pollinators. Tomato, eggplant and pepper plant varieties for sale, and two apple trees were raffled off for free.

Thanks Ted for opening your farm and expertise to the group.

April 19, 2015: Bark Grafting and Citrus Grafting Demonstration

A Bark Grafting and Citrus grafting demonstration was held at David Ulmer’s house.
David demonstrated grafting persimmons by top-working to existing trees with bark grafts.
Ray Sheehy shared his knowledge of bud grafting citrus trees. He brought citrus rootstocks and various varieties of citrus scionwood that were available to participants to a nominal price.

 

March 15, 2015: Grafting Clinic

On March 15 we held our annual Grafting Clinic at David Ulmer’s house. David gave a brief grafting talk and demonstration, then everyone who wanted individual instruction had the opportunity to buddy up with one of the experienced grafters.

Participants were encouraged to bring scions if they had them, and many varieties were provided by CRFG. Participants grafted previously-ordered rootstocks or peach rootstocks and a few Myro 29C plum that were available for purchase.

Thanks to all the volunteer grafter/instructors and David Ulmer for hosting this event.

March 8, 2015: Grafting Party for Tree Sale

CRFG expert grafters gathered together to graft heirloom trees for their annual plant sale fundraiser.
Numerous varieties of apple, pear, cherry, plum and peach scions were on hand, plus super rootstocks (myro plum, red leafed Lovell peach, OHxF pear and mahaleb cherry) that Dick Kirk grew in his garden last year as well as 3 kinds of apples. Approximately 125 trees were grafted.
Thanks to all the grafter volunteers, Bob McCarville for mixing soil and filling pots before the event, David Ulmer for hosting the event and managing rootstock orders, and Keith Borglum for growing out the potted trees.

 

March 13, 2015: Altamira Middle School Grafting Clinic

For the second year running, CRFG members hosted a grafting clinic at Altimira Middle School in Sonoma. CRFG provided rootstocks, grafting materials and expert grafter/instructors.

Something like 120 kids have grafted apples.  Some kids took them home to plant.  Other trees are planted in the school’s huge garden/orchard, used to supply fruit/veggies for the cafeteria.

Special thanks to the volunteer grafters and Dick Kirk for organizing this event.

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January 24, 2015: Scion Exchange

This year’s scion exchange was a great success, as usual. Please enjoy the following photos from the event.

October 12, 2014: Apple Tasting

Thanks to everyone who helped make our annual Apple/Pear tasting a success. Thanks especially to Keith Borglum for arranging the venue at Ace Cidery. We had a cool place out of the sun and a chance to taste some wonderful ciders.

Here is a quick ranking from yesterday’s tasting of 53 apple varieties: Three tied for best of show- Gold Rush, Golden Russet and Pink Lady – followed by Crimson Gold, Golden Delicious, Pinata (Pinova), Roxbury Russet, Spigold, Ambrosia and Grimes Golden.

At the bottom were: Rhode Island Greening, Granny Smith and Hauer Pippin followed by Winesap, Pink Pearl, Black Twig and Red Delicious. Granny and RI Greening are both cooking apples. Hauer Pippin and Black Twig are far from ripe. Pink Pearl is past its prime by almost two months.

For those who don’t know how we judge our blind tasting, this is how we do it. Each variety has a number and is ranked from 1 to 10. A score of 7-10 is high and 1-4 is low. We total the high and low scores for each variety and take the difference for the final number. For instance, Wickson had 4 lows and 13 highs for a final score of 9.

Six apples had zero low scores – Gold Rush, Golden Russet, Pink Lady, Pinata, Grimes Golden and Ozark Gold while no apple had zero high scores.

Pear tasting is done similarly. Of the 16 varieties tasted, Dana Hovey was the clear winner followed by White Doyenne, Bosc and Red Bartlett. Winter Nellis was at the bottom, but it is a winter pear and needs more time to ripen. Dana Hovey and White Doyenne had zero low scores and Winter Nellis had zero high scores.

Download Complete 2014 Apple Tasting Results

Download Complete 2014 Pear Tasting Results

 

Sept. 9-11, 2014: Heirloom Expo

Heirloom Expo was well attended (20,000?), and our booth was staffed most of the time. http://theheirloomexpo.com

It was a big hit with attendees, and with hosts, as CRFG-Redwood won Best of Class and Reserve Champion awards! None of us knew the rules or reasons! CRFG-R won best of class for fruit, and 2nd place overall.

The most common question heard from attendees was “I have this fruit (apple,pear, etc) tree in my yard, do you know what it is?”

Golden Gate chapter president John Valenzuela gave a popular talk on “Discover Rare Fruit”.

Attendees took over 400 membership info handouts. The Chapter earned a few hundred dollars on the side selling old Fruit Gardener Magazines for $1 each.

Much fun was had by all!

 

July 12, 2014: Summer Plant Sale

CRFG-Redwood hosted their annual summer plant sale at the farmer’s market at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. Special thanks to the 15 or so helpers who turned out, all worked grafting and potting at the winter grafting party, and to Keith Borglum for growing out the trees.

 

June 22, 2014: Garden Tour and Berry Tasting

Members enjoyed a tour of John Foley’s orchard and gardens in Sebastopol while snacking on the many berries in season: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries. Approximately 35 members turned out for the tour and pot-luck lunch that followed.