Central Coast Chapter CRFG

California Rare Fruit Growers – Central Coast Chapter
June 2017 Newsletter

Remembering Art Henzgen

We are saddened by the news that Art Henzgen, a founding member of our chapter, passed away on June 8, 2017. Art became an early leader in the chapter, serving as Co-Chair. He was an active member of the High School Apple grafting team and was one of the most active "recruiters" for our chapter!!
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Doris and family.

Services for Art will be held on Wednesday, June 21st, at Los Osos Memorial Park, 2260 Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos, CA.
11:00 am: Graveside service
12:00 pm: Reception
CRFG Members please bring some fingerfood, fruits, nuts, vegetables, cookies.

Art wearing bright orange hat 
		                     and a big smile. Doris and Art facing camera and smiling.

Alisha and Tucker by table with plants
Our Co-Chairs, Alisha and Tucker, lead off our June meeting with announcements and plant giveaways

June Meeting: Redstone Apple Ranch

We gathered in See Canyon at the Redstone Apple Ranch where we were treated to homemade apple cobbler prepared by Bob Redstone's daughter, Kelly. Larry Hollis provided the vanilla ice cream, and the CRFG chapter members and their guests couldn't have been happier. As we sat noshing in the sun by the creek, surrounded by the steep oak-covered hills that frame the Redstone's Apple Ranch, Kelly and Bob told us about the history of their ranch.

Kelly Redstone speaking to seated audience of fruit-lovers
Kelly Redstone speaks to the chapter

Bob's grandfather, formerly a ranger in the Sequoias, started the ranch in 1916. Apple trees that are over a hundred years old still exist at the ranch and are still bearing fruit: in fact, Bob said they set more fruit this year than some of the newer trees! Bob walked us over to a century-old Pearmain apple tree that looked like a spring chicken. (Well, not literally, but you get the point. Did we mention we are looking for a volunteer to be the editor for this newsletter? The bar is not high. Volunteer today!) The ranch receives its water from springs in the mountains. The water runs under the ranch to the creek. The water table is a mere 16 feet below ground: the Redstones have never had to irrigate their orchard! Bob estimates that the ranch gets 600-700 chill hours, and Kelly says temperatures can climb to 110-114 degrees in the canyon!

Near-ripe Blenheim apricots clustered in a tree
Near-ripe Blenheim apricots... yum!

The ranch was once all apple trees, then switched over to apricots. Now, the 16 year old apricot trees are getting old and will be pulled out one by one as they die off. New apple plantings are going in right next to these old apricots. New apple varieties include Braeburn, Empire, and Granny Smith.

There are also some pluot trees: when asked about his favorite, Bob said it is the Dapple Dandy. In addition to being tasty, this variety keeps for several weeks without going bad. A member mentioned his favorite is the Flavor Queen which he said is very sweet and delicious- Bob agrees and adds that you must get them quickly because they do not keep long.

Peach trees also grow in the orchard: when asked about peach-leaf-curl, Bob says he doesn't bother spraying for it- the amount of spraying that needs to be done is a hassle, and new leaves grow anyway after the curled leaves fall off. The Redstones also tried growing cherries, but bluejays refused to share any of their crop with them.

Bob Redstone speaking to chapter members in the orchard
Bob Redstone speaking to us on the walking tour through the orchard

Asked about his favorite part of growing fruit, Bob responded, "eating it!" Nevertheless the Redstones sell their produce at the Santa Monica farmers market but also can a lot of it for their own enjoyment. In addition they grow tomato plants- last year Kelly said they processed over 800 pounds! Kelly and her husband make a variety of pepper jellies under the name "Taint Hot." The pepper jelly comes in seven levels of hotness, created by using serranos, habeneros, cayenne, thai, and the infamous scorpion pepper. The very hottest jelly is called "Sting & Linger." Think you are man/woman enough to try it? You'll find their pepper jelly for sale at California Fresh markets, JJs Market, Last Chance Liquor Store, Morro Bay Wine Celler, Morro Bay House of Jerky, and even up at the Lopez Lake market.

Thank you Bob and Kelly for the fun day we had at the Redstone Apple Ranch, and Alisha for arranging for us to visit this beautiful ranch and meet its delightful owners!

All photos by Joe Sabol

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