The fairytale begins. Bump down a single-lane country road to frog hollow farm on a hot summer morning, and the first thing you notice is the rich, summery perfume of sun-ripened peaches filling the air. Everywhere you look, fairy-tale bears and frogs cavort across boxes stacked to the sky. Some, filled with the most perfect fruit, might be heading to the kitchen of chez panisse or a local farmers market. Others have a shorter distance to go: just a few yards to the white, airy kitchen adjoining the packing shed, where they'll be simmered into conserves or sliced to fill buttery tarts and galettes. All around, mouth-watering fruit beckons: irresistible crimson plums dusted with silver bloom; plump, glowing apricots; nectarines that look airbrushed in burnished red; white peaches blushing pink on their downy cheeks. This is frog hollow farm, home of some of the bay area's most legendary fruit.
from meager beginnings to mouth-watering organic creations. Frog hollow farm began in 1976 on a 13-acre lot of fertile san joaquin river delta land in brentwood, california. Back then, farms and orchards made up most of the town, a small farming community renowned for its rich soil and mild climate. Al courchesne, a northern california native returning from hawaii where he had been teaching high school history in honolulu, purchased the land along with his soon-to-be business partner sarah coddington from sarah's great-uncle clinton smith. They planted their first crops that year: a mixture of corn, mixed vegetables, and fruit trees.
in the early days, a chorus of frogs would herald the sunrise and sunset every day from a nearby pond. This natural symphony delighted courchesne, thus the new farm was dubbed frog hollow farm. Over the next 33 years, the farm would expand to over 130 acres planted with nearly 100 varieties of stone and tree fruits, including apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, cherries, asian and european pears, as well as olives and table grapes.
for the first few years, most of the crops were sold through a roadside farm stand and u-pick operation. One crate at a time, frog hollow farm built a reputation for remarkable fruit, picked truly tree-ripe and delivered bursting with juice and true, old-fashioned flavor.
in 2000, small-batch, handmade conserves, made from their famous fruit, as well as a line of sweet and savory pastries and a selection of all-natural, unsulfured sun-dried fruit, began to make their way into the hands and mouths of frog hollow's devoted fans. the culinary side of the business, as many know, is overseen by pastry wizardess becky courchesne. Becky, then pastry chef at oliveto (a renowned oakland restaurant), met her farmer-husband one day when he was delivering fruit to the restaurant. The rest as they say is history. They were married in 2002, and now have 2 daughters, madeleine and camille.
these days, frog hollow farm sells its fruit at local farmers markets around northern california; through a 400-member weekly csa (community supported agriculture) program; through a burgeoning online, mail-order business; and at their market & cafe located in san francisco's food-centric ferry building. Along with fresh fruit in season, the market & cafe sells the farm's heavenly creations, as well as a short menu of salads, sandwiches, and breakfast items all made, of course, with frog hollow fruit.
Frog hollow farm is a thriving 133-acre organic farm located in brentwood, california on the sacramento river delta (just one hour from san francisco). The farm produces 25 varieties of peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, pluots, plums, asian and european pears, and table grapes.
we are certified organic with c.c.o.f. (california certified organic farmers).
Season: Year round
Type: multiple farm
# of Shares: 1000
Full Share: $25 /week for full box of mixed fruit.
Work Req? No
Please visit www.froghollow.com for details on Frog Hollow's Farmers Market locations and hours
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I had just finished reading Mas Masumoto's book, Epitaph for a Peach when I came face to face with my first Sun Crest peach. There I was under the packing shed at Farmer Al's with peach in hand ready for the all too common post-superhype foodie letdown.... [more]