A brief on Palatine’s roses

Dear friends, it has been such a fantastic fruit season, thank you once again for your support. Now that fruit is over, that doesn’t mean that the entertainment stops. Here’s another quick interview with Rene about his Rose business. It even contains tips for budding rose growers too! Read on:

How did the rose business start?

R: In the year 2000 a local rose nurseryman decided to retire and get out of the rose business (he also is a friend of our family and was our mentor in the beginning). We acquired his stock of rose genetics and produced our first small crop of roses (1000 plants) in 2002. A steep learning curve kept us hugely busy but also excited since this new endeavour got us in contact with  people from all walks of life- around the world- with this one common denominator- the love for roses.

What challenges did you face selling roses in the Niagara region?

R: Roses are grafted plants which take 2-3 years to produce. We grow the rootstock from our own seed produced on the farm, raise the resulting plantlets, graft the fancy rose varieties onto them and grow those for another year. One of our biggest challenges to this day is the speculative aspect of what we think could sell best 2 years down the road. Leftover (speak: unsold) rose plants are the result of variety decisions two years earlier.

What is the most exciting part of the job?

R: Definitely walking our blooming fields at the end of July, but also the contact with all our friends in roses, may they be rose customers, rose breeders and other people in the rose industry or that lady that was blindfolded by her husband , guided to our field in full bloom and her facial expression once the blindfold was removed.

Any particular favourites (of roses)?

R: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder- I like them all- but if you twist my arm- Double Delight would be way up top on the list!

What tips can you give to rose owners to care for their plant?

R: Growing roses in the garden should not be drudgery. Many of today’s new rose varieties are very resistent to fungal diseases and are a joy to watch growing. My first point of advise would be to choose the healthiest cultivars- then look at the other aspects of fragrance, size of bloom etc. Besides that we always try to give our rose enthusiasts personal advice regarding fertilization, winterizing, pruning etc. through our instructional website video’s, written planting and cultivation instructions and sometimes hand on courses on the farm. I also speak to rose societies and garden clubs during our off season, trying to keep rose culture alive and exciting.

Do we expect to see anything new in the coming year for Palatine roses?

R: Our line up in garden rose varieties changes every year to some degree. Our rose plants also travel sometimes far. The furthest to the North would be somewhere north of Edmonton, Alberta, South to Buenos Aires, West to Hawaii and East to Switzerland. As trends in roses change we try to adapt as best we can. The debut of the new roses from the world renowned rose house Tantau in Germany will make rose

Enthusiasts everywhere in North America very excited- a good line up of these new varieties will be available in the Fall of 2016.

Stay tuned for more stories and the happenings of Palantine farm in the Fall (and coming winter)!

How well do you know your peaches?

How well do you know your peaches?

Well if you’re like me, I only know when they arrive labelled as “peach” and is reddish-yellowish in colour. Rene and Eva have been offering a wide variety of peaches, but the peaches available over the next week or so are known as the best-of-the-crop. They have a rich history as much as they have a rich flavour. Let me tell you what I have learned.

It started when Paul and Jim Friday developed 2 well known series of peaches, the ‘Stellar’ peach series (Jim) and ‘Flamin’Fury’ series (Paul). The Friday family have been breeding fruit since they came to Michigan in 1846 and the farm has been in the family for 169 years! Both Fridays are one of the few private breeders left. Paul and Jim were always competing to create the best peaches. I think they both succeeded, but you can taste for yourself!

It is interesting to note that both Stellar and Flamin’Fury peach series are the results of the efforts of 2 peach farmers and have not been developed by a scientific institution, university or government research station. In the farming industry these days, this is quite uncommon. Both series of varieties had to prove themselves for several years under the critical eyes and scrutiny of growers and the scientific community, but the varieties came through with flying colours.

Stellar Peach Series

The late Jim Friday was a well know farmer/peach breeder and cousin of Paul Friday.  Jim selected the best 12 peach trees out of over 8000 seedlings and named his selections the Stellar series. His peach varieties can be recognized by the word “star” in the name (e.g. Coralstar). Annette and Randy Bjorge, Jim Friday’s daughter and son-in-law, are carrying on Jim’s breeding efforts.

Peaches from the Stellar series do not turn brown after they are cut! Of the 12 peach varieties in the Stellar series, Eva and Rene offer Coralstar and Allstar. They are truly all-rounded, beautiful peaches. Because they don’t brown, they stay beautiful in the jar after canning, nice and bright after freezing and look great in a peach tart with mascarpone and graham cracker crust.

Coral star peaches on the tree (from Farmer Maps)

Coral star peaches on the tree (from Farmer Maps)

Flamin’Fury Series

Famous peach breeder Paul Friday (he denotes all his peaches with his initials “PF”) is a Michigan farmer/peach breeder with 52 years of variety selecting experience. Paul started independently breeding his Flamin’Fury series of peaches over three decades ago. Now in his 70’s, Paul Friday released his 39th variety in the Flamin’Fury series.

One of the famous varieties of this series is the PF 24 and will be available from Eva and Rene. It is large with firm, yellow, freestone flesh, the skin colour is 90% red and many claim it has the most “peach” flavour. That intense peach flavour will last in your jars long after you can them. Flamin’Fury peaches are also used in ice-creams and sorbets. It is very, very juicy. Peach Sangria anyone?

Tidbit: The PF 24 can survive the winter and spring freezes while other variety failed.

The PF24 peach (from Illinois specialty crops, agritourism and organic conference)

The PF24 peach (from Illinois specialty crops, agritourism and organic conference)

Peaches and Pies

Good morning friends!

I hope your weekend went well in the summer warmth we are still receiving. I (Alexandra) enjoyed it particularly with swimming in the pool, visiting farmer’s markets, eating delicious sweet buttered corn and getting down to making our own cherry pie and peach canning!

For the cherry pie we made two weeks ago, my husband and I took 3 cups from the beautiful half-box of sweet cherries we received from Palatine Fruit Farm and pitted them. We looked up a recipe online and created this amazing pie from scratch. If anyone tells you pitting cherries is not a difficult task, they obviously didn’t use a wooden skewer like I did because all the stores we went to were out of cherry pitters!

For first-time-cherry-pie-makers, we found this to be a huge success! The crust was crumbly and buttery, the filling sticky, gooey and not too sweet. And when mom-in-law paired it with Vanilla bean ice-cream from Kawartha, oh my word, a bite of heaven!

Yum yum. We almost couldn't wait for it to cool before cutting into it.

Yum yum. We almost couldn’t wait for it to cool before cutting into it.

Have them on it's own or serve them with vanilla bean ice-cream

Have them on it’s own or serve them with vanilla bean ice-cream

Next up we canned the fresh Harrow Diamond peaches that came in just last week. We were treated to the wonderful smell of peaches in the car, at home and wherever the peaches went. It feels like you’re just out there in the orchard when you smell fresh peaches.

My mother-in-law drove to KW and taught us the basics of fruit canning. Being from Singapore, I had no exposure with this and I must say the whole experience was so much fun. It was funny that we had only 2/3 of the peaches left for canning because we just kept eating them fresh and giving them to good friends. Everyone loved it.

Boiling the jars to seal them

Boiling the jars to seal them

Luscious peaches cooling down from the boil

Luscious peaches cooling down from the boil

A jar of peaches and cherries. Just look at the colour! Can't wait for winter to bite into them.

A jar of peaches and cherries. Just look at the colour! Can’t wait for winter to bite into them.

Well, that’s us meddling about with the fruit. We want to know what YOU do with your fruit, other than eating it fresh of course! (We don’t deny, that is the best way to enjoy them). We invite you to share your pictures and recipes in the comment section below. Remember this applies to Palatine fruit only :)

Have a good week,

Alexandra

 

Introducing Alexandra

Hi Everyone!

It is my pleasure to be able to introduce you to Alexandra Hoon. Alexandra contacted me last fall from Singapore! She explained she had fallen in love with a Canadian who lives in KW and she is a real foodie who wanted to know more about our business.

Over the winter we took Alexandra to meet Eva and Rene. Being an optimistic Singaporean (country of 30 degrees all year long), Alexandra was hoping to walk the farm and see all the fruit. I suggested that the trees will probably be dormant, there will likely be two feet of snow, minus 20 degrees, but sure, we can walk the farm! And walk the farm we did. Cold and blustery but Alexandra was undaunted!

We visited with Eva and Rene around the fire for the afternoon and Alexandra was so taken with Rene and Eva’s work that she wanted to contribute somehow.

Now married and living in KW with her husband Matt, Alexandra has volunteered to do some social media and blogging for us.

I will let her tell you more of her plans.

Please welcome Alexandra,
Have a nice day,
MJ

Hello Good Peach friends!

Firstly, it is a thrill to be in Canada and to be a part of The Good Peach. They are a team driven with passion and pride for what they do, and that is to support Palatine Fruit & Roses in their commitment to sustainable farming of tender fruit. I am honoured to have met Eva and Rene as well as work with MJ on ideas to help grow The Good Peach.

My role involves introducing some social media to The Good Peach in the form of blogs and in the
near future, Facebook. Watch for my blog next week on canning peaches and my first cherry pie experience. I hope you will engage in sharing your recipe ideas or what you do with your Palatine Fruit.

Nice to meet you,
Alexandra.

Matt Cat and me (2)