Tuesday, 27 September 2011 12:09

Rare Fruit Growers Meeting

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Last Saturday most of the sales and management staff had the priviledge of joining the local chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers for their monthly meeting.  The meeting was held at the Home of Walter & Brenda Thoma in the foothills just outside Porterville.


Walter Thoma

Walter Thoma leading us through his extensive orchard

Walter is in his mid 70's (with the energy and drive of someone in his 30's) and over the last 20 years or so has created an amazing home orchard of edible fruits suitable for the hot climates of this Central Valley.  He works from sunrise to sunset in this expansive orchard.  We toured greenhouses, watched him climb date palms with his homemade palm lift, walked through tunnels of grape vines draped over elaborate home made trellises (arbor might be closer) and picked/tasted all sorts for great fruit.  If you like fruit (and everone here today did) this was a very special treat.


Under canopy of grapes

On a warm day, it was nice to tour under the many grape canopies.

We met Walter some time back and he introduced us to the Panache "Tiger" Fig.  It was from his tree that we got our first cuttings of this popular and exotic fig.  I was most interested in getting photos of ripe fruit since we will shortly be having the Panache "Tiger" Fig in our catalog for sale.  The tree was loaded and I had many opportunities to take photos. Later we got to eat from a plate full of them at lunch.

Opened Tiger Fig

Tiger Fig

Panache "Tiger" Figs

Mixed Grapes

Briefly thought we had a special find - but alas two different vines appearing as one cluster.


The tour ended with a short business meeting of the CRFG Chapter and then a feast for lunch - most from the orchard we just toured.


CRFG Lunch

Had a feast from the garden

It is the members of California Rare Fruit Growers and other groups like this with passionate interest in edible fruits that make our backyard orchards and gardens so much better.  It is members like these who are always the first to try new varieties and often write the articles for others to read in the press.  These same good folks also push the fruits into new climate zones and discover that chilling hours are often lower than first conservatively estimated.  Those of us that enjoy great tasting fruit have a lot to be thankful for these pioneers that constantly bring new discoveries to the light of day.  More images from this day here: CRFG Tour

Ron Ludekens 9-26-2011