Picking Our Own
Napa in September, 2006



 Thanks to a tip from Lulu's friend/pastry teacher Shuna, we had a weekend adventure up in Napa Valley.

We visited Hoffman Farms: a family-owned, organic orchard where you can pick your own goodies for 50 cents a pound.



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 We arrived just around noon - it was hot, sunny and quiet.


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 It is a wonderful place, worth visiting for the bonsai garden alone.


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 Farmer John has made many beautiful sculptures over the years - so many varieties, from figs and firs to ginko.

Many have looping branches and rocks embedded, which showcase their root systems.



 This olive tree was most impressive - faithfully reproducing the gnarled mass of its species in miniature.



 In the shed you can leave money for fruit that's already picked - or honk to get a bucket and a tour of what's available.



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 He patiently explains the layout of the property, and gives helpful advice about what to pick, from which trees.



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 "Pears on the ground will often look good - but you'll find that they taste mushy. Pick from the trees."




 It is hard to imagine how soil this barren-looking produces so much bounty.



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 We could smell this apple tree before we saw it... fruit under it's canopy slowly cidering.

I grew up on Macintosh, and these were a welcome surprise. Tart and flowery.



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Sadly the walnuts were not ready (still green and hard on the branch). But the plums were heavenly.

Combined with the apples and pears, our buckets smelled like sweet candy.



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 Just to the edge of the hard clay orchard, a forest of live oak trees cooled the air by 15-20 degrees.

Moist and soft, with a pleasant breeze, it was beautiful... but no fruit. An interesting tradeoff.



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A few peach trees were just coming into season - mouthwatering, and a good reason to go back!

 (as if the wine and sunshine weren't enough of an excuse!)


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Support local, organic farming... and get a bellyfull of yummy for your troubles!

2125 Silverado Trail, Napa 94558
Telephone: (707) 226-8938
Hours: Aug-Dec 7; Daily 9-5