Field Report #7
From: Robin and Kathryn at Fat Gold
Greetings from Fat Gold!
We have good news from the grove. The good news looks like this:
This time last year, we were scratching our heads and calling fellow growers. Everybody was asking the same question: what the heck is going on?? Our trees had no buds, which meant no flowers, which meant no olives for the 2018 harvest. (If you missed it, you can read our chronicle of the whole drama in Field Report #5.) We made up for our missing harvest with olives acquired elsewhere, which has meant tasty new varieties for subscribers this year.
Well, we are happy to report that our trees in Sunol bounced back from last year’s olive-pocalypse. In mid-April, we saw the first buds emerge, and by May, the trees were loaded. Then, the buds opened in a strong, rolling bloom—
—and we’re just now entering the phase we call “fruit set,” which is the cool, jargony way of saying: OMG OMG I SEE BABY OLIVES!
Things are good in the field.
So the trees are doing their part; how about us? Mainly, we’re moving mulch. It will not surprise you to learn that we don’t use any any herbicides in our grove. That’s not because we don’t have weeds! Quite the opposite; the weeds love Sunol as much as the olives trees do. But rather than use poison, we handle weeds using old-fashioned techniques. We pull them; we smother them. Under the trees, we’re depositing the chipped-up remains of our spring pruning. We build the mulch into fat rings that block sunlight and prevent weeds from germinating. The mulch also retains moisture, which means we don’t have to irrigate as heavily during the hot summer, and eventually, it breaks down and becomes healthy, nourishing soil. So yes… we’re feeding the olive trees to themselves. Hooray for mulch!
In case you missed it, we wanted to show you Fat Gold’s appearance in Sunset magazine. Sunset is part of Fat Gold’s backstory, in a way; you can read about it on Instagram and also see a picture of the feature.
It’s a hot, steamy day here at Fat Gold HQ in Oakland, and we’re getting all our materials organized for the June shipment, which will go out this week.
–Robin and Kathryn