We are certified organic with CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). Read on for a bit about each of the fruit types, and many of the varieties we grow. If you're looking to purchase fresh fruit, check out our available fruit programs or the individual boxes shipping now.
Our stone fruit harvest begins with the arrival of one of the most celebrated fruits of the year. Cherries have a brief but memorable season, and as one of the easiest fruits to store for baking with, our cherries help sustain the kitchen long after their harvest is finished. Named for the Turkish town of Cerasus, cherries have been cultivated since about 300 BCE. In 1912 they came to the U.S. by way of Japan, as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan. As eagerly awaited as the cherries themselves is their blossoming, and if weather permits, we hold a yearly blossom festival to share the beauty of our orchard with the public.
In the United States, sweet cherries are grown primarily on the West coast, with Washington producing over 50% of the country's cherry crops. Cherry orchards are plentiful in and around the Sacramento Delta, as here under the brilliant sun, sweet cherries find a perfect climate to flourish. We grow four varieties of sweet cherries that are typically harvested in mid-May to mid-June:
The Brooks are our first cherries off the tree. The variety was developed at U.C. Davis in the 1980s and doesn't sacrifice taste, color or texture for its early arrival. They resemble the Bing with a more balanced sweetness in their dark, rich flesh. Brooks are typically available in mid-May or early June.
The Rainier is the only white cherry we grow. Created in 1952 at Washington State University, they are a cross between the Bing and Van. Plump, delicious, and with extremely sweet creamy flesh, they can be more fragile than the dark cherries. Rainiers are typically available in late May to mid-June.
Farmer Al likes to say, "Bing is King!" Not only is the Bing our most popular variety, they're the most popular and commonly grown cherry in California today. For good reason, as they are the sweetest, juiciest variety with a delightfully crisp firmness to their deep red flesh. Bings are typically available in late May to late June.
Stella cherries are dark almost to the point of being black and slightly smaller than the big, bold Bing. The final cherry of a brief season, our limited Stella crop is mostly easily found at our Ferry Building location and at our farmers market appearances. Stellas are typically available in mid to late June.
Truly from the cradle of civilization, the Apricot was first grown in ancient India around the year 3000 BCE. Ancient Greeks called them “the golden eggs of the sun.” By the 16th century, apricots were successfully cultivated throughout Northern Europe. In the Middle East, where apricots are used extensively both fresh and dried, the fruit’s brief season became the source of an Egyptian saying, “fel meshmesh” or “in the apricot,” used much as English speakers would say “once in a blue moon.” Something is “fel meshmesh” when it’s unlikely to happen because the time for it is so brief. Like cherries, our apricots are here and gone again in the blink of an eye, although some new varieties including the Apache and the Honeyrich aprium have extended our harvest.
As of 2012, we grow and harvest 10 varieties of apricots which includes one aprium variety and one white apricot variety. We've also added the spectacular Blenheim apricot to our certified organic lineup of fruits. Our typical apricot harvest runs from mid-May to early July:
The Apache is one of the newest varieties of apricots introduced to growers and was developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. It's early off the tree, and like our Brooks cherries, doesn't sacrifice any flavor or texture to beat its more popular cousins off the branch. Apaches are available mid-May to early June.
The pluots we grow are the more well known of Floyd Zaiger's work to crossbreed plums and apricots, but the Honey Rich is a prime example of the aprium which most strongly resembles its apricot parentage. Sweet even when the flesh is still crisp, they continue to ripen into soft juicy delicacies. Honey Riches are available mid-May to early June.
Our stone fruit season has fully arrived when the Robadas are ready to pick. By then, we've got several varieties coming in from the orchards, and usually the arrival of the Robada apricot and the Bing cherry come hand in hand. A large and robust apricot, the Robada has a particularly vibrant blush that makes the fruit seem to glow on the branch, almost like tiny Japanese lanterns lit from within. Robadas are available late May to early June.
The Orangered variety was developed at Rutgers University by Leon Hough. They have a very limited harvest season which can be as brief as only a few days. They have a richly scented flesh and rival the Robada for size as the largest apricot variety we grow. Orange Reds typically harvest sometime in late May or early June.
Following up two of our largest varieties is the Golden Sweet, a smaller apricot that makes up for whatever it lacks in size with its rich flavor. Though we may bake pastries featuring other varieties, the Golden Sweet is our variety of choice for our best-selling apricot conserve. Another California born and bred variety, it has a brilliant golden orange skin with a soft blush. Goldensweets typically harvest from late mid-June to early July.
New to our apricot lineup is the Blenheim, an extremely sweet variety that like the Golden Sweet produces a smaller fruit but is a favorite amongst apricot lovers. We acquired several acres of conventionally farmed Blenheim trees in 2008 and have been tending to them organically since. The crop from these trees are not yet eligible for organic certification until they are out of their transitional period. Blenheims typically harvest from late mid-June to early July.
A sweet and fragrant peach that's ripe enough to drip juice down your chin is one of the joys of summer. Native to China, peaches of legend conferred immortality and were treasured by ancient Emperors. In the early 17th century a horticulturist by the name of George Minifie is said to have brought the first peaches from England to the United States, planting peach trees at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia.
Peaches now grow throughout the world’s temperate regions, but find a uniquely suited home in Brentwood’s Mediterranean climate. Farmer Al long ago adopted the Cal Red as the farm’s signature peach, a unique variety that has become the favorite of discerning peach lovers across the country. We grow over twelve varieties of peaches that are harvested from mid-June to early September.
A newly producing variety at Frog Hollow, with the right weather, the Rich Zee has been known to beat our cherries off the tree in mid-May! The Rich Zee is an excellent early variety to whet the appetite for summer peaches. It is much smaller than later varieties, and is more of a 'water' peach than a 'sugar' peach, but a big crowd pleaser at the farmers markets. It has a strong fragrance, a gentle flavor, and tender, juicy flesh. Rich Zee peaches are available mid to late May.
The Crimson Lady is one of the first varieties off the tree. It has a firm texture that is more springy than meltingly juicy and where some palates may find it less desirable for eating out of hand, when dried it is uniquely chewy and delicious. Crimson Lady peaches are available mid to late June.
The Gold Dust is one of our favorites and the first outstanding peach of the season for eating out of hand. An heirloom variety, it is low in acid and smaller than most of our peaches. Its juicy, melting texture and sweetness can hardly be beat. Gold Dusts are available mid to late June.
A classic California peach, the Flavorcrest has a beautiful crimson red blush over bold yellow skin. Its a well-known peach whose attractiveness and bold sweetness makes it the third most widely planted fresh-market peach in California. Flavorcrests at Frog Hollow enjoy more time on the branch to fully develop their distinctive sweetness. Flavorcrests are available late June to early July.
A Slow Food Ark heritage variety, the Suncrest has all the old-fashioned taste of days gone by. Its a truly memorable peach whose firm but juicy flesh provides a real eat-over-the-sink experience. Gently tapered, the Suncrest has hardly any blush to speak of on its rich yellow skin. A more fragile variety, the Suncrest bruises easily when picked, but as many of our farmers market customers know, a picking bruise means the fruit is extra delicious. Suncrests are available early to mid-July.
The big, bold Red Top lives up to its name and is almost fully blushed red over yellow. One of the first freestone varieties of the season, its flesh is consistently firm and sweet. With its unique coloration and ease of slicing, the Red Top is especially well-suited for presentation. Red Tops are available early July.
Renowned horticulturist Floyd Zaiger is responsible for many of our favorite varieties, and the Zee Lady is another Zaiger gem. The Zee Lady is a good sized peach that's a real beauty, with a vibrant red blush dusted over a warm golden skin. Another freestone, the Zee Lady's juicy flesh is as great for baking as it is eating out of hand. Zee Lady peaches are available mid to late July.
The Summer Lady is a variety that developed naturally in a commercial orchard in Fresno and was discovered in 1982. An early-ripening variant of the O'Henry, it is similarly well-balanced and aromatic. Slightly more round and uniform than its O'Henry parentage, the Summer Lady has deep burgundy streaks at maturity and delights our tastebuds almost a full two weeks earlier. Summer Lady peaches are available in late July.
Yellow-fleshed peaches are more popular in the United States, but the allure of an excellent white-fleshed variety like the Opal can't be denied. Very low in acid, the Opal's sweetness comes across two-fold. A beautiful dessert peach, the Opal has a delicate pink blush to its skin and mild flesh with a hint of vanilla. Opal peaches are available in late July to early August.
Farmer Al's favorite peach to grill, the O'Henry has the flavor, size, and crimson blush that makes for a truly memorable peach. It's elegantly pointed shape slices to an attractive heart shape for striking presentation. Our O'Henry harvest overlaps briefly--a few days to a week--with our harvest of the Cal Red leading to a matchup of two of our biggest varieties. At participating farmers markets, our Battle of the Peaches taste-offs between these two varieties grows more and more popular each year. O'Henry peaches are available in late July to mid-August.
True to its name, the August Flame has a bright red blush on skin ranging from warm yellow to orange. A popular late-season peach for growers, it's as delicious as it is attractive. A freestone with little fuzz, the August Flame is excellent to slice up for use in a fresh tart or other open-faced pastry. August Flames are available in early to late August.
Another late maturing freestone, the August Lady has a rich red color and crisp flesh. A natural descendant of the Summer Lady, the August Lady doesn't much resemble its O'Henry ancestry and has its own unique qualities. With a short harvest, it's a joy to eat side by side with our other August varieties. August Lady peaches are available in mid-August.
The beloved Cal Red is in a class by itself and is the "Oh my God" peach! A relatively new variety and a California native, the Cal Red was bred by University of California botanist Claron O. Hesse in the mid 1960s. Aptly named for the Golden State, the Cal Red is a beautiful golden peach marked with a gentle, sun-kissed blush. Our best-selling variety, Cal Red fans mark their calendars to eagerly await harvest each year. Some years the Cal Red has a harvest window as brief as two weeks, leaving a huge impression for a peach with such fleeting availability. Cal Red peaches are available in mid to late August.
The Summerset matures into a very large peach, some weighing in at more than two pounds! Bright yellow with hardly no blush to speak of, the Summerset is a freestone that boasts a bold flesh that has a strong peach flavor. Sweet and juicy but with a tart, acidic bite, it makes for a nice contrast as a follow-up to the extremely sweet Cal Red. The Summerset has a nicely firm texture that freezes well and is a favorite of ours to bake with. Summerset peaches are available in late August to early September.
While our late-season Summerset has more of a nectarine tang to it, the Autumn Flame brings the peach harvest to a close with a truly nostalgic peach sweetness. The Autumn Flame is naturally more firm, but softens beautifully if aged properly on the kitchen counter. It becomes almost as meltingly soft as a Gold Dust if left to enjoy until the skin begins to wrinkle slightly. Autumn Flame peaches are available in early to late September.
Nectarines are not a hybrid fruit, they are peaches that lack the gene for fuzz! Every so often a nectarine can be spotted growing naturally on one of our peach trees. Though they're peaches in disguise, nectarines are regarded commercially as different fruits and the lack of fuzz can make for a very different eating experience. As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, clingstone or freestone. On average, they're slightly smaller and sweeter than their cousins and their lack of fuzz can make their skins appear more reddish. The nectarines deeper sometimes almost purple coloration contributed to a mistaken belief that they are hybrids of peaches and plums. We grow seven yellow-fleshed varieties and two white-fleshed varieties that are typically harvested from early July to early September.
White-fleshed nectarines, the Jade and Emeraude's subtle sweetness and low acidity makes them a great contrast to our early-season yellow peaches. Emeraudes are available late June to early July.
The Ruby Grand is our first yellow nectarine of the harvest season. It's naturally large and fragrant with an intense flavor. It's firm flesh has a melting mouthful and is a very versatile fruit, excellent for eating fresh, canning, freezing, and for drying. Ruby Grands are available in early to mid-July.
Our Summer Flare trees produce some of the largest and juiciest nectarines we see. Rich in flavor, they're often solid red with hardly a streak of yellow in the skin. A clingstone, the Summer Flare is an ideal variety to bite right into and eat out of hand. Summer Flares are available in mid-July.
Slightly smaller on average than the Ruby Grand, the Ruby Diamond is our best early-season nectarine in Farmer Al's opinion. It's a brilliantly crimson freestone with a very good eating quality. Juicy and firm it has the perfect blend of tangy and sweet that nectarine fans love. Ruby Diamonds are available in mid to lateJuly.
The Flavor Top is one of the highest scoring nectarine varieties in regional fruit tastings. It's a beautiful variety, with bold streaks of red and yellow and firm succulent flesh. They hold up extremely well when sliced so are ideally suited for a fragrant midsummer fruit salad and are one of the varieties we especially recommend for grilling. Flavor Tops are available in mid to late July.
Quickly becoming one of our best-known and most popular varieties, the Fantasia is a large, tapered heirloom variety. It's deep golden flesh is amazingly sweet and smooth, and its marbled bright red skin makes for exceptionally beautiful presentation. Like many of our more unique and heirloom varieties, the Fantasia is a far more fragile fruit than most farms will even consider growing. Like the Suncrest peach that often ripens at the same time, the Fantasia is easily bruised when allowed to ripen properly on the branch, but we're sure you'll agree that the taste is well worth the risk. Fantasias are available in mid to late July.
The Summer Fire has a firm meaty flesh that isn't as juicy as some of our other varieties but is packed with a red wine intensity that makes it a memorable and desirable nectarine. Often with a deeper reddish hue than the Fantasia, the Summer Fire is a variety that's worth the extra effort it takes to slice and pit a clingstone: its warm yellow flesh is streaked beautifully with red near the pit. Summer Fires are available in early to mid-August.
These two varieties are similar in appearance, taste and texture and bring our nectarine season to a close beautifully. They're both elegantly shaped and rich in flavor, with deep red skin and warm orange flesh. August Fire and August Red necarines are available in mid-August to early September.
Plums range in color from yellow to green to red to purple and historically grew wild across Europe, Asia and North America. At Frog Hollow we've planted two varieties of plums at the opposite end of the spectrum from one another in color and texture. Our pluots varieties however threaten to steal the show entirely. A cross between plums and apricots, the pluot is quickly becoming one of the best known hybrid fruits available today. In addition to our two plum varieties, we grow five varieties of pluots and our typical harvest runs from late June to late September.
Famed California horticulturist Luther Burbank bred this plum in his Santa Rosa plant research center. Red-skinned with a purple bloom, its amber flesh gets flushed with red. It's plump perfection with tender flesh that's extremely sweet and juicy. A bit of tartness in the skin balances out the sweetness. Santa Rosas are available late June to early July.
Playfully called the "dinosaur egg" pluot, the Dapple Dandy has marbled pink and green skin over delicate white flesh threaded with rose. Kids especially love this pluot for its distinctive coloration and the lack of tartness in the skin. Dapple Dandy pluots are available mid-July to early August.
The best pluot variety we grow! A dark-skinned pluot with red flesh, it has an intense rich flavor combined with sweet, spicy tones that are reminiscent of the Santa Rosa. A nice acid bite and firm texture that softens beautifully as the fruit continues to ripen, the Flavor King is amazing out of hand and equally good for baking. They come off the tree right at the peak of our August harvest harvested along with some of our other best varieties like the O'Henry and the Cal Red. Flavor Kings are available early to mid-August.
The Flavor Heart gets its name from its distinctively tapered shape. Its meaty, pale yellow flesh is very low in acid and the sweetness and color contrasts strikingly with its dark purple almost black skin. The Flavor Heart is quickly becoming a favorite amongst our pluot fans. Flavor Hearts are available early to mid-August.
A freestone plum, the Emerald Beaut is a delicate green that turns golden with a hint of a blush. It has a firmer texture than the Santa Rosa with a crisp almost crunchy mouthfeel. One of our most hardy fruit, the Emerald Beaut just gets sweeter and sweeter without losing texture as it ages. Emerald Beauts are available mid to late September.
These large, late-season pluots are similar in both taste and texture. They're reddish-purple over tender, yellow flesh that's extremely juicy. One of our last stone-fruits of the season, the Flavor Fall and Flavor Treat are a welcome reminder of the height of summer. The Flavor Fall and Flavor Treat are available late September to mid-October.
Three pear species account for the vast majority of pear production: the European Pear (Pyrus communis) cultivated mainly in Europe and North America, the Chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri), and the Nashi or Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia). We grow both European and Asian pears here at Frog Hollow Farm with our most notable varietal being the famously delicious Warren. Stone fruits often steal the show, while the amazing taste and texture of pears remains undiscovered by most consumers. We grow four varieties of European pears and three varieties of Asian pears. Pears are the only fruit we grow that ripens off the tree and while our harvest is in August and September, our pears continue to ripen with varieties available from October to January.
Asian pears are also known as "apple pears" as they're often described as having the texture and shape of the apple but with the smooth sweetness of a pear. Botanically, they're true pears and are native to China and Japan. The Shinseiki is medium-sized pear with smooth yellow skin. They're nicely crisp with a sweet white flesh that's refreshingly juicy. Shinseikis are harvested in mid to late August.
The Hosui is popular in both Japan and in California. They have a rougher, thicker skin than the Shinseiki with flesh that while still crunchy has a more melting mouthful, making the texture combination when eaten out of hand spectacular. Very juicy and sweet with a milder pear taste, their round shape and beautiful golden hue make them ideal for presentation with a distinctively Autumnal feel. Hosuis are harvested in late August to mid-September.
The Shinko is a large pear with its round shape slightly flattened. The skin is bronze with brown russeting and its juicy, creamy white flesh has a subtly rich flavor. One of the last pears to pick, it comes off the tree with a butterscotch note to its sweetness. Shinkos are harvested in mid-September.
The Warren is to our pears as the Cal Red is to our peaches and the Flavor King to our pluots. This is Frog Hollow Farm's signature pear and for good reason. It has a great origin story, discovered by Thomas Oscar Warren growing naturally outside a post office in Hattiesburg, MS. Once known as the Post Office pear, it's taken on its founder name is a favorite of chefs. Too difficult to grow for most farmers to consider it's never caught on commercially but Farmer Al has never shied away from putting the time and effort into a fruit that tastes so good. It has a classic European texture, very soft and juicy with a silky sweetness that avoids the typical grittiness found in most pears. Warrens are harvested in late August.
The Bosc is a strikingly decorative pear that's reputed to have first sprung to life as a wild seedling in the mid-18th century. It was introduced to the US in 1836 and has also been known as the Kaiser Alexander. The Golden Russet is true to its name with a yellowish-white flesh and a uniformly russet skin. It has the classic Bosc shape of a long elegant neck. Excellent for cooking with, the Bosc's texture holds up very well in pies, tarts, and for poaching. Golden Russet Boscs are harvested in mid-September.
A varietal that pre-dates the Bosc, the Seckel is much smaller in size and finds its origins near Philadelphia in the early 1800s. Also known as sugar pears, the Seckel is green with a dark-red blush or in some cases nearly all red. It's extremely sweet with almost no acid and its fine flesh is very juicy. Seckels are harvested in mid-September.
The Taylor's Gold was discovered in 1986 by Michael King-Turner in his Riwaka orchard near Nelson, New Zealand. It's believed to be a mutation of a Comice or possibly even a cross between a Bosc and a Comice. It's sweet, juicy, and tender with a rough cinnamon-colored skin and speckled gold flush. It can grow the largest of the varieties we tend and like the Warren is equally well suited to eating fresh or using in holiday desserts. Taylor's Gold pears are harvested in early September.