Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grapes Coming to a Table Near You

So the next day, Tuesday, we went up to the town of Coachella.  There is a new Retail Partner, Foster-Gardner, that agronomist JW and I visited there. This is a big time table grape area.  (Table grapes as opposed to wine grapes.)  We went to several grape areas, and this one was being harvested.  That's JW checking things out.  Notice the date palms on the left. There was a lot of harvesting going on as indicated by all the packing boxes.
This is what it looks like down the rows.  This site had just been picked.  I guess I was a little self- conscious about taking pictures of the workers.  It was very hot, well over 100 degrees, and they were working hard and I was just standing around watching.
The bunches of grapes are unloaded on a table.  See how nice and scarlet they are.
Then they are loaded directly into a store package and placed in this supermarket box.  So it might be a good idea to rinse them off before eating.  However, I did not follow my own advice and was eating them directly from the bunches hanging on the vines.  Super good flavor..  (Oh, I was discrete in taking this pic of the woman here.  How they work when it's so hot is a mystery to me.  I admire and respect them so much for their strong ability here.)
But unfortunately the grapes are not all nice and scarlet.  These grapes here were not picked because the finicky shoppers want them all scarlet and grapey colored.  There are a lot of these.  Grapes get their color on the vine, and not after picking like some crops.  So they are left and hopefully will color and be picked later.  But here it is late in the season, and maybe they won't have time or labor to keep coming back.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of foliar nutritional spray that would enhance coloring?  Well cross your fingers.  If you like grapes that is.
After that we went and looked at a nearby tangerine orchard.  Now who doesn't like tangerines?  But those darn seeds.  
Hey, these are seedless tangerines.  How does that happen? Well, it seems that they put netting over the whole row of trees at flowering to prevent pollination by bees.  And so the tangerines grow and mature without seeds.  Here are some in development and they will grow until harvest in the winter. But it seems that tangerines have some of the same issues as grapes with uniform coloring.  Some of the tangerines don't fully turn orange, keeping some green color which prevents marketing.  Maybe there is some way to enhance uniform orange-ness.  We will see. 
So after all of that, it was time to head over the Santa Rosa mountains and back to San Diego so JW and I could depart to our respective homes.  I had never taken this route, and it was some pretty "keep your eyes on the road" driving.  We turned off into an overlook to see greater Coachella-Indio-Desert Palm in the background.  And look at the curvy road.
There are a number of wild fires going on in California.  Which is sad due to the terrible drought. This is a view of the smoke from the so-called "Lake Fire" in the distance to the North.  Too bad about that.
Did I say San Diego?  Wait, I have a daughter and son-in-law and GRANDSON in San Diego.  Well it would just be rude not to stop by.
So I did.  He's almost four months old and certainly happy to see his Grand-dad.  I was happy too in case you can't tell.