This week will be Zarpara Vineyards last time at the market before they take a summer break to tend their grape vines and prepare to harvest their grapes. Their fine wines will include Rosado 2018, Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Sangiovese 2014, and Origen 2015.

Feliz with Queen Ceviche will be back this week with more of her mouth watering guacamole, ceviche and salsa. If you are looking for a thirst quencher, try her hibiscus lemonade by the cup or bottle. Feliz will also have her signature hibiscus prickly pear soap, body spray and lotion.

Julee with Ancestral Herbals will be at the market this week with her special “You Say Tomato” soap. The soap is made with tomatoes, carrots and beets from local farmers. Julee also has replenished her stores of Rustico Shave Soap made with Golden Rule Dairy’s raw milk. If you like a natural choice in soap, it doesn’t get any better than Ancestral Herbals.

The Simmon Honey Ranchito returns with their Strawberry Jalapeno Jam and Raspberry Jalapeno Jam. Their Jalapeno Jelly is also back in stock. They will also bring a limited supply of special cut honey comb from the very early spring wildflower honey flow this year. The local Mesquite Honey is now in season and they have several containers of it to choose from.

Mike with Just-A-Pinch will have Culinary herbs, such as basil, dill, mint, and cilantro. You can buy his young healthy plants or he will harvest it while you wait at the market. He will also be bringing young walking onion plants, a unique green onion-like vegetable that develops baby plant clusters at the end of their stems. Be sure to stop by and check out his plants.

Healthy Thinning Advice

How many times over the years have you been thrilled to see your fruit or nut trees blossom in majestic display? Then few weeks later you are super excited to realize your tree is loaded with fruit? Over the coming days you jealously guard your tree, keeping it watered and well fed with visions of a bumper crop of mouth watering yumminess. Each year though, as harvest time draws nearer you notice the fruit on your trees just doesn’t seem to get very big. When that anticipated harvest day finally arrives you are sorely disappointed to find that most of your fruit got hardly bigger than a golf ball.

Well let me tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a simple gardening practice that will help your tree produce normal sized fruit (assuming you are giving it enough water and food). That simple practice is called thinning and right now it’s time to take on this necessary task. Not only is thinning necessary for healthy size fruit but it also keeps the tree from becoming over stressed by trying to feed every single piece of fruit it tried to produce for you. Come harvest time, thinning also helps prevents tree damage due to the overloading of its branches.

Thinning in theory is really easy. Just remove most of the fruit on your tree leaving several inches between each piece of fruit. On our peach trees we typically remove about 90 percent of the fruit leaving about 5-6” between each developing fruit. The picture’s provided show before and after thinning.

Notice I said thinning is easy in theory. If you’ve never done it before then you’ll find that it seems nearly impossible to remove most of the beautiful fruit from your tree. For the first few times you’ll obsess about each fruit, trying to see into the future to choose “the one” that has the best chance, that looks the strongest, or has the least blemishes. Heaven forbid that you find two gloriously large and well formed specimens touching each other because all your thinning efforts will come to a grinding halt as you stand frozen in indecision trying to make a fateful choice about who lives and who dies.

Trust me on this though, if you perform good thinning practices on your trees, you’ll have bigger fruit and pound for pound more of it. You see, in small fruit, a larger percentage of the fruit is seed. Too many seeds, and the tree cannot possibly provide enough food to adequately develop them all. Bottom line, if you have a heavily loaded fruit tree and when you are done thinning most of it is not on the ground you haven’t done a good enough job yet. Go back and try again. Your tree will thank you for it by giving you healthy normal sized fruit.

Be sure to check out our weekly newsletter at www.sierravistafarmersmarkets.com to get our full list of vendors, special announcements, and helpful advice.

Submitted by William Struse

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