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Please welcome new members here and if you have not introduced yourself yet, take a minute to let people know a little bit about yourself.

Please welcome harveyc from Isleton CA

Postby harveyc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:11 pm

Cloudforest Expert
Posts: 313
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:35 am
Location: Isleton, CA Sunset 14, USDA 9b
Climate Zone: USDA9b Sunset14
Okay, I guess I've put this off long enough. I had been busy with farm work and then working on repairing a rental so time has been short. I'm Harvey from Isleton, CA (lower Sacramento County, in the delta). I live at an elevation of 0 feet and my 47 acre farm ranges from about +4 feet to -10 feet. My father's parents immigrated from Madeira, Portugal to this area almost over 90 years ago and farmed as did my father until he retired about 10 years ago. My farm is small, in comparison, and something I bought with my wife as a part-time farm while we both worked in banking/finance jobs off the farm. I retired (or gave up or whatever) a few years ago to farm full-time. Most of my land is planted to alfalfa while I've got 5 acres of chestnuts which take up a lot of time due to refrigeration storage requirements and the fact that I market them all direct to consumers online (shipped over 1,000 packages last fall). I also have about 6/10 of an acre of pomegranates with about 30 varieties in the ground and another 20 or so in pots. I have been growing chestnuts for 12 years and pomegranates for four years. I am now propagating trees of each and will sell them through a small nursery I've started. I like to experiment with new varieties but must temper this as I must be able to handle these in an efficient manner so that I can actually make some money.

There are many other things which I grow at this point entirely for pleasure or personal use. I've got about 20 varieties of bananas and presently have five bunches still hanging on despite 12 or 13 days of frost. For some reason, most of the bananas still look quite good although we've got down to 29F or 28F this winter. I have about 8-10 varieties of white sapote, 5 avocado, around 15 pitahaya, 15 figs, 2 lychee, 'Frederick' passionfruit, prickly pear, peaches, pluots, apricots, a few apples, cherries, grapes, feijoa, loquat, 6 jujube (Sihong was my first tree and produces great fruit), some citrus, etc. I have a Black Gold jackfruit growing in a pot in my greenhouse that I bought last summer and hope it looks like Jay's one day.

My biggest challenge in gardening is finding time to take care of things or managing my time. I'm absent from the forum for long periods of time when I'm just over-loaded with work. During the winter I have quite a bit of free time which I use to develop new hobbies to help ensure I continue to take on more than I can handle during the rest of the year.

Kern is a swell guy that has a son who is an excellent fishing guide and I had a great time fishing with them last year. It's fun to see a son and dad have such a great time together and I hope I can continue to have a great time with my son as he grows up. It may be a challenge as he'll soon become a teenager. Kern is also a great example on making sure his wife knows that he adores her and I need to do a little more of that. I'd like my wife to meet Gayle some time and maybe she'll become a fruit addict too. Edgar Valdivia from Simi Valley has become a great friend who I've only known since the summer of 2009 but he has an enthusiasm in pitahaya and pomegranates that helps motivate me to keep doing more. We have a great time sending fruit to one another to share and he takes the time to document our tasting experiences. Jeff Earl used to frequent this group and we've shared quite a few plants and experiences as well. Jack Swords and I went on a nursery tour together down to San Diego and we had a great time and I hope some of my collection will one day be as large as his (i.e., huge 'Pike' white sapote).

Re: Please welcome harveyc from Isleton CA

Postby Axel » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:27 am

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Site Admin
Posts: 3533
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:49 pm
Location: Hanalei Bay, HI & Fallbrook, CA
Climate Zone: 12b/H2 & 10b/S23
Harvey, your chestnuts you sent me last Fall were delicious! My chestnut tree got eaten by a gopher this Fall, oh well, looks like I need to order a new one. I'd love to visit your farm someday.

It takes a lot of courage to give up the other income and farm full time. It's a tough way to make a living these days. Direct marketing seems like the way to go. I'll be buying chestnuts from you next year.
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

Re: Please welcome harveyc from Isleton CA/teenagers

Postby ellen in berkeley » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:51 pm

ellen in berkeley
Cloudforest Expert
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:00 am
Location: berkeley near downtown
Climate Zone: sunset 17, ecoregion 11.1.1
Harvey, I'm sure you and your son will find ways to enjoy each others' company. Teenagers are great. I found mine to be much more pleasant (and way more interesting) than many people I have lived with or worked with over the years. I have seen friends' teenagers work on the farm and grow up to be farmers alongside their parents, though they had plenty of other choices. Teenagers get badmouthed a lot, but they treat you pretty much the way you have treated them. Kinda like trees.

Re: Please welcome harveyc from Isleton CA

Postby harveyc » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:24 pm

Cloudforest Expert
Posts: 313
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:35 am
Location: Isleton, CA Sunset 14, USDA 9b
Climate Zone: USDA9b Sunset14
Thanks Axel and Ellen.

Sure enough, I wrote in the intro that my bananas were still looking pretty good but after the long cold night of last Sunday, they're looking pretty sad.

I had worked in lending and they lead a loan review (audit) program and did well, but you can imagine how much co-workers enjoyed it when I showed up! The vast majority of folks respected me, but that still didn't make the work pleasant. lol I enjoy the farm work of actually getting to see something produced and then getting to talk to customers who frequently give very nice feedback. Incredibly, even the Obama family and some members of congress ate a soup made with my chestnuts in the fall of 2009 and I was told they all enjoyed it. Last year I had very nice comments from some food bloggers, including a lady that had been the food editor for Bon Appétit for 20 years. Those sorts of things don't help pay bills but we saved up well during our years with two salaries and chestnut income will continue to increase as production goes up. Axel, I have too much of a disorganized mess around here right now for visitors but I'm working on that. I hope also to make it to your place.

I hear you on that, Ellen. Michael does enjoy helping me and I think most kids will respond better if you give them opportunities to do good deeds and praise them to let them know you're proud of them. I remember very well as a teenager how I longed for praise which I never seemed to get often enough. In 2009 I backpacked with Michael for 5 days/4 nights and hope to get to do more of that in 2011. We had put it off in 2010 because of other travel plans, unfortunately.

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