Frog Hollow Farm is a thriving 143-acre organic farm located in Brentwood, California. We are located a hop, skip and a jump east of San Francisco in the fertile Sacramento River Delta (about an hour's drive). Our farm is home to hundreds of trees which produce peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, apriums, plums, pluots, Asian and European pears, olives, persimmons, quince, apples and more. Heirloom tomatoes are our newest crop and we are always planting new things to find out what our legendary soil will support. Our typical harvest begins with cherries in late May and runs through the end of September. We also have a small crop of citrus and other fall and winter fruits which harvest during our lean months.
We are certified organic with C.C.O.F. (California Certified Organic Farmers) and committed to sustainable practices. Sustainability is an important value that Farmer Al has embraced since choosing to go organic in 1989. We steward our land with care and believe in treading lightly, so not only is the world a better, healthier place, but your neighbors and family are, too. In addition to our growing practices, we believe in sustainable labor practices. Many farms rely primarily on seasonal hires, and though our ranks swell during the harvest season as well, because we tend to our trees by hand and have a commercial kitchen on premises, we provide year-round employment for more than just a handful of local residents.
We do our best to find a use for all our fruit as only 2% of fruit is cosmetically perfect. Our best looking fruit that is firm enough to have good shelf life goes to grocery stores, most of which are local. Beautiful fruit that is ripe enough to have great flavor and survive shipping goes to our Mail Order customers. Fruit with minor blemishes makes up the bulk of any harvest and much of it goes with us to area Farmer's Markets. Ripe and ready to eat blemished fruit finds a home in the weekly boxes of the Community Supported Agriculture Program we operate. Having a kitchen onsite allows us to use much of the fruit which would otherwise not find a home, and we also regularly donate hundreds of pounds to the Contra Costa Food Bank. All fruit that is too damaged to use goes into our farm's compost piles.
Our farm is a working farm and not open to the general public. If you would like to visit us, keep an eye out for events scheduled throughout the year. Events in 2010 have ranged from a free invitation to picnic amongst our blossoming trees to fine dining with a host bar and live music. Groups or schools seeking educational tours are always welcome to contact us, however please keep in mind that during the harvest season our time is scarce.
In broad terms, organic farming means fewer chemicals--eliminating synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. To enrich Frog Hollow Farm's soil, Farmer Al uses seaweed, fish, limestone, and compost. The farm has its own compost piles which is primarily made up from our orchard's clippings, scraps discarded from the farm kitchen, and fruit which has fallen from the limb or has been damaged (such as by birds or weather). In 2010 Farmer Al has been experimenting with other compost bases, including incorporating coffee grounds from our SF Ferry Building cafe.
In lieu of chemicals destructive to health and the environment, Farmer Al uses a variety of methods to control pests and weeds. Most weeds grow freely amongst the trees and are considered ground cover that is tilled back into the soil when necessary. Pest control may mean introducing beneficial insects to combat destructive insects or the use of a ZON gun which creates a simulated shotgun noise to scare away birds. Spraying does occur in the orchard, however it is only with natural, bacterial insecticides or mineral-based applications. We strictly adhere to all requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) which is the organization accrediting the CCOF certification we hold.