One of my favorite farm writers, Wendell Berry, once wrote that “Eating is an agricultural act.” A simple re-minder for us, that we chew on, can change industries. And I was thinking about that a lot this week as we put the finishing touches on our iteration of hand sanitizer.
I know, I know. Right now you are like, “Farmer M, I think you are losing it, why make hand sanitizer?”
Well first off, you know that I like to have soft and sanitized paws in this line of work. But secondly is the source that we were able to make the sanitizer from: unsellable fruit from our buddy Paul at Excelsior Orchards. Yes we have taken blemished (unusable) fruits, made hooch, then distilled that hooch into a sanitizer.
Part of this project was to show just how creative we can be when we want to use every bit of what we produce. Leave nothing behind. My love of hard ciders planted this seed that making sanitizer from Lo-cal Organic fruit was even possible. Fruit is so versa-tile that I want to find homes for every piece. Even the ugly ones.
I think that you will really like the sanitizer. I sure do. Sure there is a strong alcohol smell like all sanitizers. But I love that you can smell notes of fruit like a fine Brandy. Which basically is what this is although I would not drink it. So now you can support Paul’s or-chard not only in the fruit that you eat, but in the way you clean your hands. Spritz away!
And staying on Excelsior Orchards for a moment here. Not that 2020 needed any other reason for us to hate it some more, but it will be the year that killed cherry trees in a 100 year frost incident.
At the end of October, just hours after the last harvest of Fuji apples came off the trees, Excelsior Orchards and the surrounding area got hammered with a freak fall frost. The temperatures plummeted to +5 degrees while the trees were still in fall growing mode.
You see a tree that slowly goes into dormancy can take winter temperatures to -40. But this fall frost was a freak event (much like the entire year of 2020). Many of the trees did fine in this freeze. But the cherry trees never woke up this spring.
Excelsior Orchards has been around for over 80 years. 20 years under Paul’s stewardship. He has cherry trees that are over 80 years old. They have never been through such a freeze event like this. So we will not be getting any Excelsior cherries this year as Paul and his crew prepare to replant the cherry blocks.
That was the bad news from our update this week. The good news is that it looks like all Spring freezes are past and he has a huge peach, plum, apple, and nectarine crop this year. Moderate numbers on other fruit, but big harvests expected on his flagship fruits. We will be ready for those to begin this July.
Everything else is running really smooth around here I have to say. Chef Jules and his crew have been making incredibly delicious bites. Carne Adovada has been my personal favorite recently. And our warehouse team has been hitting huge goals to make sure every order is as perfect and fresh as possible. Proud of our team.
Thank you for all of your support for our mission and our partners. We are extremely grateful. Enjoy amigos.