Reflections on the Spanish and California Industries by Dr. Ben Faber.
The village of Jete is in the far back of this valley near Almunecar. It’s all cherimoyas with olives on the hillsides. And nearly all of the cherimoyas are Fino de Jete with lots of seeds, smooth skin, and they all come ripe at the same time with no hand pollination!
Pruning and pollination practices vary considerably both here and in Spain. This is partly due to differences in the “Mediterranean Climates” that are found in the two areas. We’ll look at those factors, as well as how pruning and pollination are affected by differences in the two “cultural climates”.
Our speaker will be Dr. Ben Faber. Ben is an advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura, where he specializes in soils, water, and subtropical horticulture. He has a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility, and he maintains a blog and a newsletter that the bulk of our commercial citrus and avocado growers learn from. Dr. Faber was going to give his presentation on “Cherimoyas in Spain” at the recent Festival of Fruit However, unfortunately, he was so sick he couldn’t make it. Please join us for this very special presentation! We will be in the MultiPurpose Room at the Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Complex.
(Description courtesy of Alan Caramatti, our brand-new Program Chair)
From our new Field Trip Chair Jane:
“On Saturday September 14 at 10 am, the WLA Chapter will visit the Patient Garden at the Long Beach Veterans Medical Center, 5901 E. 7th Street Long Beach 90822. The garden’s purpose is therapy, rehabilitation, and enjoyment of the veterans. They have a mixture of vegetables, ornamentals and fruit trees; several structures provide for greenhouse, hothouse , and propagation space.
I was surprised that the several members I spoke to didn’t know of its existence; maybe I have had more injured Vets in my life. After the loss of the WLA VA Garden I want to make sure we know about this one before it is ever threatened. The will be no lecture-like tour but perhaps we could talk about land closer to us where we could make some contribution.
Please try to carpool.( At the next meeting I am going to have people clustered by neighborhood to facilitate carpooling in the future.) I will bring our chapter’s big water jug with ice and lemons. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN CUP, a chair if you can, and fruit to share out of hand.
For a second activity, some carpools might want to go south to Westminster for supermarkets and other fruit markets. Going north I suggest stopping the International Garden Center, 155 N Pacific Coast Highway, El Segundo 90245. Sepulveda becomes N PCH in El Segundo. I treat myself to a visit here when I take someone to LAX. While there is nothing particularly International about it, they have a wide range of products: trees, perennials, fruits, vegetables, seeds, bulbs, and my favorite Annies’ Annuals.
(Enter the VA facility by the 7th Street entrance. Veer to the right and stay to the right making only right turns when a turn is necessary. The garden is in the north/east corner of the campus and parking is on the ride hand side of the street . There is a water tower quite close I always look up to verify my location.)”
Once again, we are heading down the driveway to convene in my Back Forty where — at last — I will have the time to explain what is actually going on there (the cherimoyas and papayas from spit-out seeds, the ridiculous bay laurels, the Pink Passion passiflora that is eating my house, the Fire Crystal that is, hey, growing new leaves). There are also a ton of lemons, limes, tangerines and blood oranges, a monster Black Mission fig, an equally monstrous Saijo persimmon, several apples that will have just finished bearing, ditto the mulberry. The loquats are long done, the litchi and sapodilla are still too young. My homemade beehive is behind a gate and faced in the other direction so no worries.
The Front Forty with my green fig trees, young Hachiya persimmon, another not so happy Fire Crystal, banana plantation and avocado mountains will be taped off because of the number of fragile new plantings and grafts there. I can however explain most of it from the driveway and sidewalk and will lead small groups through if desired. It and the adjacent parkway are full of California natives and therefore butterflies, bees and birds, oh my.
Around 11, the vanilla ice cream will arrive (with bowls and spoons) and we will share all the sauces we have made from the fruits of our orchards. Or actually any topping you want to bring. If you happen to be lactose intolerant, you are welcome to bring whatever iced alternative you desire. Yogurt will also not be shunned. Fun in the sun! (Thank you, Fang, for suggesting this.)
PS. There should definitely be some Gros Michel pups for our silent auction.
For the very last chapter meeting I am solely responsible for arranging (thank you, new Program Chair Alan!) I have managed to persuade the esteemed Charles Portney to speak to us on “38 years of Amateur Blueberry Growing in Southern California”.
I don’t know anyone who has grown as many different varieties of blueberries here, successfully, as Charles has and — bottom line — he is an amusing and highly authoritative speaker on just about anything. Come to learn how you can grow this healthy and delicious fruit in pots or in the ground…. and, yes, without chemicals or animal-based products.
Because Charles will also be speaking at the Festival of Fruit in August, we had to switch our Field Trip month with our Chapter meeting month to accommodate his schedule, hence the July 13th date.
In addition, because our normal Culver City location was already booked, we are — thanks to the hard work of our new Facilities Chair Cat — able to try a different and temporary location: the Reed Park Auditorium at 1133 Seventh Street in Santa Monica. This is just above Wilshire Blvd in downtown Santa Monica; and while there is some metered street parking on all four sides of the park, there is also parking a few blocks away at either City Parking Structure 9, (1136 4th Street) or the Public Library at 7th Street between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard. Structure 9 is free for the first 90 minutes and then $2.00 for the next half hour and $1.50 for the next, at which point you should probably leave. The Library lot is free for the first 30 minutes and then $1 for every half hour after that. BUT the maximum for the whole day is $5 so once you’ve parked at the library, you could come to the meeting and then hit the beach and the Farmer’s Market for hours (or Sidecar Doughnuts across 7th Street from our meeting)
NOTE: THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE 29TH! Check out the details and get your registration in pronto at festivaloffruit.org. The line-up of speakers and tours is fantastic and the price for the three days is truly amazing, including free admissions to both the Huntington and the LA Arboretum during the event
Dr. Gorlitsky is a Senior Researcher at UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research as well as a lecturer in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (whose mantra is Moving Science to Action) As such, she is intimately engaged in efforts to combat everything from invasive species to mass extinctions. Her specialty of Tropical Ecology, however, intersects with our interest in exactly what is going on in our back forties. She will be lecturing to us on Coevolution, focusing on the interaction between the fig and the wasp.
Margaret’s friend Britten is currently a student in one of Dr. Gorlitsky’s UCLA classes and reports she is both an engaging and incredibly knowledgeable lecturer. This is definitely a meeting not to be missed.
This month we will visit Champa Nursery in El Monte. Jimmy Nguyen, the proprietor, has extended a kind welcome to us. Jimmy has over a hundred different varieties of tropical fruit trees in stock (on less than an acre!). Were you looking for that hard-to-find acerola cherry (Barbados cherry)? Jimmy has them! Want a new variety of black sapote? Jimmy has four varieties currently available! Were you anxious to try a sapodilla? Jimmy sells three varieties! He even has three varieties of mamey sapote! At Champa Nursery you will also find six different varieties of carambola, three varieties of canistel, an amazing eight varieties of jackfruit, a dozen varieties of mangoes, three varieties of longan, four varieties of lychee, five varieties of wax jambu, and many many more intriguing fruit trees. Go to their website and start your want list: https://www.champanursery.com. Carpooling is recommended.
Address: 4254 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91311
Directions: Champa Nursery is on the corner of Santa Anita and Tyler Ave., next to the El Monte Airport. Take the I-10 Freeway east to El Monte. Take the Santa Anita Ave. exit (Exit 28) and turn left onto Santa Anita Ave. In just under 1 1/2 miles turn right onto Tyler Ave. Champa Nursery will be on your left.
We fruit growers need to know about bees: how to encourage them in our orchards, how to protect them on our shared planet and, if nothing else, how to appreciate their marvelously democratic society. Bottom line, after all our planting, grafting, pruning, fertilizing and elaborate irrigation systems, without the girls we would have very little to eat.
At the enthusiastic recommendation of the Orange County chapter, we are thrilled to have snared Ray Teurman to speak to us about bees at our next meeting on April 13th. Eight years a beekeeper and seven years a bee rescuer, Ray maintains 70 hives at homes in LA, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties plus over 40 hives in apiaries in Long Beach, Hacienda Heights and Compton. A member of the Bee Keepers Association of Southern Calfornia, Long Beach Beekeepers and Honey Love, among other apis-centric organizations, he has been termed one of the unsung heroes of SoCal bee keeping and volunteerism. This is how he is described on the Bee Keepers Association of Southern California site:
Ray has recently begun his retired life. That doesn’t mean sitting under an umbrella enjoying ice tea! No! He’s busy rescuing bees every single day. He does cutouts, swarms, most jobs that other rescuers don’t have time for. He does charge a fee, but it’s well worth it, as he charges a fair price He does best by texting. Please include your name, address where the bees are located, where the bees are (in a wall, in a tree, under the shed, etc.), how long they have been there, and a contact phone number. Please be patient, as he could be busy in a tree. Ray does enjoy help. You can learn while helping!
Please call Ray by clicking the number. 323-599-6802 or text him.
Okay, so hopefully there will be no snow on the ground, but we are taking the opportunity of visiting a member’s relatively new orchard to discuss our various preparations for winter. Do you do dormant spraying? Do you remove the leaves from your trees in this most unseasonable of winters? How do you train the young trees you planted last bareroot season? How are you getting ready for the trees you will plant this year? How do you prepare your orchard for the (fingers crossed) winter rains? There will be plenty of time to tour the garden but also yak. Come with ideas!
Chapter members, just a reminder: our holiday party is Saturday and the plant raffle is really starting to shape up,. Gros Michel banana pups, rose apple seedlings, and a one-gallon ice cream bean tree are among the offerings. This is a pot luck so bring your best dish (as well as plants to include in the raffle if you have them) See you there!