Fresh Facts Week 9:
Waiting for Solutions: Ripening Persimmons and Beating Bad Bugs

By October 26, 2014Fresh Facts, Newsletter

DO NOT EAT THE HACHYIA PERSIMMONS HARD!!!

There, that should have grabbed everyone’s attention and gotten the message across. But, every year at Hachiya time, some poor adventurous soul encounters these wonderful orange fruits and takes a big ol’ bite right outta the box that puckers ’em up for a week.

If you’re a newbie to Abundant Harvest, you probably don’t yet know that Hachiyas are the Japanese baking persimmon that makes everything their pulp is used in wonderfully moist and good, but that’s after they soften up. You can leave ’em out for fall harvest decorations for a few weeks until they soften naturally, or you can just put ’em in the freezer and when they thaw they’ll be fine. When they’re ready, they’ll kinda be like a water balloon.

Carol has some great family recipes here, so enjoy. Add on some more if you like but we only put ’em in the box once a year. Next week will be the flat Chinese Fuyu variety that you can eat hard like an apple. We usually have them for a couple weeks, plus some add-ons.

Houston, we have a problem. You’re keenly aware of the water shortage, you’ve probably heard of the Asian Citrus Psyllid that has most of our citrus producing areas in the state under quarantine and has decimated the Florida citrus industry as the vector of citrus greening disease, but I’ll bet you haven’t heard of the Bagrada bug. Here’s a picture from Ben at KMK Farm.

This little stink bug—about the size of a lady bug—is an invasive species from Africa and India causing serious damage to your farmers’ crops, especially those from the Brassica family. What kinda stuff is in the Brassica family Uncle Vern? Well, the mustards are all genus Brassica ,which means common weeds by the road are hosts, making it hard to slow down. In just a couple years it’s spread all over CA and AZ. Vegetables in your box it loves are cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, the chards, and its favorite seem to be the kales, especially red kale. But if those aren’t around, they’ll eat most anything, even Bermuda grass.

When we had our farmer breakfast a couple weeks ago, there was genuine uncertainty and fear as they talked about different solutions they’d each tried, whole fields they’d lost, and for the first time, resignation that there were just certain crops they could no longer grow in summer or at minimum couldn’t grow from seed as the bugs love to put their tough little noses right into the emerging seedling and kill it.

It’s giving conventional farmers a terrible time and they have an extensive arsenal. One problem is it lays its eggs underground, making it hard to control. Second, it’s tough as shoe leather and third, it has no natural enemies here in North America. Finding that enemy and bringing it into the US will take several cautious years.

One thing for sure, there is an organic solution or practice that will make this thing livable and finding it is just the kind of professional challenge that gets us going. So, pray for rain, insight into Bagrada bugs and don’t eat the Hachiyas hard.

 

Author Uncle Vern

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