As a regenerative organic farm, Frog Hollow’s agricultural practice is designed to uphold the regenerative principle of biodiversity. One of the most important pillars of regenerative agriculture, this practice encompasses the promotion of biodiversity for all living components on the farm, from birds, to pollinators, to cover crop species, to fruit tree varieties. This work is not only crucial to establishing and maintaining the ecological balance of our farm, and the land area surrounding our farm, it is also an important step towards protecting human food security, particularly in the face of the climate crisis.
Heirloom Peaches for Food System Resilience
One way to promote biodiversity as a consumer is by purchasing seasonal, regional, and heirloom varieties and by supporting the regenerative organic farms that do the groundwork. Heirloom plants are species that have been selectively bred and passed down generationally, usually for at least 50 years. These species are open-access! You can save seeds from an heirloom species to grow again the next season.
One of our favorite heirloom fruit tree varieties here at Frog Hollow Farm is the Suncrest peach, a designated variety in the Ark of Taste initiative. Ark of Taste is a publicly accessible catalog of endangered foods, run by Slow Foods USA, an Organization that works to preserve heritage agricultural practices and traditional food production methods. The Ark of Taste specifically functions to preserve plant and agricultural biodiversity, and offers a variety of niche and endangered foods and seeds to the public for purchase. Be sure to check them out–their work is service to food systems resilience!
The Suncrest is a deliciously juicy and beautiful peach that was originally grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. These large yellow peaches have delicate skin and flavorful flesh. With a light blush and gentle taper, Suncrests are truly memorable and mouth watering. But because of their delicate skin, Suncrest peaches require extra handling care. This feature has made them undesirable for traditional fruit distributors, who often prefer fruits with stronger skins, despite their delicious taste. Due to a lack of demand, this peach species has grown close to extinction. Of course, we’re experts on handling ripe fruit, so we’re able to provide this variety to valued customers and clients while also doing our part to maintain genetically diversified peach trees.
Strength in Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the key to ecosystem resilience, and the more biodiverse our ecosystem, the stronger we become! Today, the majority of staple food crops consist of a small handful of genetically heterogeneous crop species. The more heterogeneous our food plants are, the more vulnerable they are to being wiped out by disease and extreme weather events.
Biodiversity serves as protective padding against climate-related threats: all species varieties have unique strengths and weaknesses, allowing them distinct survival advantages or disadvantages depending on region, climate, and other environmental factors. At Frog Hollow Farm, we have at least 96 distinct varieties of fruit trees. We maintain a highly diversified orchard for many reasons, among them is adaptability and resilience against changing environmental factors, diseases, and pests.
After tasting the uniquely delicious flavors of our heirloom Suncrest Peach, you’ll understand why it’s not only practical but joyful to preserve peach biodiversity for this and future generations. At Frog Hollow Farm, we celebrate every fruit variety for its unique texture and flavor–every variety has something special to offer our taste buds and to food system resilience!