January 28, 2017: Scion Exchange

We hosted our annual scion exchange to a crowd of several hundred fruit enthusiasts. Hundreds of varieties of fruit trees were available as free scions, plus bare root and live plants offered by vendors.

We were lucky in receiving our rootstocks at the last minute, as our shipment had been delayed due to rainy weather. So, a great abundance was on hand to go with the many varieties of scions available.

Thanks to all the volunteers who donated countless hours collecting scions, managing rootstocks, organizing our fund raising raffle, staffing the event and all the other myriad tasks associated with the scion exchange. Thanks also to Keith Borglum for the photos.

All the members of CRFG take great pleasure in sharing our knowledge and contributing back to the community by encouraging a love of fruit growing.

August 26-18, 2016: San Luis Obispo Festival of Fruit

CRFG Member Maile Pieri attended the 2016 Festival of Fruit in San Luis Obispo County and provided the following writeup and photos. Thanks, Maile!


Black Diamond  Vermicompost in Paso Robles.

CRFG members were given an amazing tour, by Cristy and Jack.  They raise worms in their off-the-ground continuous flow thru bins.  As surface dwellers and feeders, the worms generally hang out in the top 6-8 inches. The bin is 24″ deep (45 feet long), they we make a “cutting”, and take off an inch or so of vermicompost, which has been thoroughly worked through by the worms.  The fresh vermicompost (you see on the floor) is very wet so it dries for a while on the floor before it’s screened and packaged for sale.  There is no smell here what so ever.  Great tour!

Mt. Olive Organic Farm in Paso Robles

This sustainable organic farm provides organic healthy food while benefiting the environment and all the living things around. They don’t use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers.  They grow fruit and produce and farm cows.

They raise earthworms and use the castings, our own compost, beneficial microbes and old-fashioned farming practices to produce the best, the earth has to offer.

Kiler Olive Farm in Paso Robles

CRFG members were treated to a Tuscan style olive oil tasting at the beautiful top of the world location of Kiler Olive Farm, with Gregg Kiler.   We tasted 5 oils ending with a commercial brand many of us have in our kitchens.  I think our tastes buds woke up to what ‘fresh’ really is.  We left with a couple of fresh bottles.

In their ‘frantoio’ eco-friendly straw bale building, is the milling equipment and olive oil storage tanks.  It is fully solar powered, and walls are finished in natural clay plater.  They sit on 58 acres and farm 2700 olive trees, varieties originating from Italy and Sicily.  They first produced olive oil in 2010 winning many medals for their EVOO.

Later some who lingered, were offered a tour of the mill facility with the owner.  There we got to see the core of the business ~ from the receiving, to pressing, to bottling and packaging.   It was an incredible tour and Gregg was very generous in sharing what he has learned along the route of making olive oil.  His energy was endless.  He truly loves what he does.


January 23, 2016: Scion Exchange

We held our annual scion exchange at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s center. Hundreds of people attended this community event, collecting free scions from hundreds of varieties of fruit trees. Rootstocks were available for sale at a nominal price, and CRFG grafters were on hand to create custom- fruit trees on the spot.

Among the rootstocks offered this year were:

  • Apple: MM111, Bud 9 dwarf, Geneva 41 dwarf, Geneva 202 semi-dwarf
  • Plum: Myrobalan – for Apricots, Pluots, Plums and Almonds
  • Peach: Lovell – for Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Plums, Pluots  and Almonds
  • Pear: Calleryana

An ongoing raffle and auction offered many interesting and useful prizes donated by local-area businesses in support of our mission.

A hospitality table was provided with free coffee and tea, plus many fruit-based snacks provided by our members.

More than a dozen vendors offered fruit trees, grape vines and other plants for sale as well as fresh citrus fruit and other items. Local businesses and non-profits provided information tables as well.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped put this event together. Photos by Keith Borglum.

Jan 2, 2016: Prusch Park Scion Cutting

CRFG-Redwood members travelled to San Jose to collect scions from the many varieties of fruit trees at CRFG-maintained Prusch Park.The scions will be used to share with people at scion exchanges throughout Northern California. Photos courtesy of Maile Pieri.

December 12, 2015: Annual Meeting

Rachel and all officers were re-elected. Lots of interesting fruit to taste. Rachel displayed her school insect education project. Our Sonoma State grant recipient gave a presentation on his planned use to genetically identify the avocado trees around Sonoma County, searching for a cold hardy variant. Gene gave a little grafting knife-making talk.

Thanks to Keith Borglum for this writeup and photos.

October 4, 2015: Apple Tasting

A great crowd assembled at the Ace in the Hole cider pub for CRFG Redwood’s annual apple tasting.

We tasted 52 apples, 16 European pears and 5 Asian pears from 13 states and 10 countries. Remember that on any given day, the results will differ due to several factors such as fruit maturity and growing conditions. As many of you know, the top tasters vary widely from year to year. The top apple this year, Liberty, ranked near the bottom of the list last year.

Thanks to David Ulmer for organizing and emceeing, Ace Cider for hosting, and everybody who donated fruit and helped out. Thanks to Keith Borglum and John Valenzuela for photos.

Click the links below to download copies of the final results.

CRFG Apple Tasting Results 2015

CRFG Pear Tasting Results 2015

September 8-10, 2015: Heirloom Expo

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CRFG members put together another great table for the National Heirloom Exposition – a major event featuring thousands of heirloom varieties of produce and livestock, hundreds of pure food vendors, and numerous speakers.

Thanks to everybody who helped setup and man the exhibit, and thanks to Keith Borglum for photos.

July 12, 2015: Summer Plant Sale

CRFG held its annual Summer Plant sale and fundraiser. Dozens of varieties of rare fruit trees and plants were sold.

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.