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Farmer Fred Hoffman podcast features Taste Fall! e-cookbook

Conversation with Kathy Morrison delves into persimmons, baked goods and season-bridging salads

The gorgeous colors of fall fruit: pears, apples, persimmons (those are Fuyus) and a pomegranate. We have recipes for all of these in Taste Fall!

The gorgeous colors of fall fruit: pears, apples, persimmons (those are Fuyus) and a pomegranate. We have recipes for all of these in Taste Fall! Kathy Morrison

Fred Hoffman always is a favorite visitor to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center on Open Garden Days. A lifetime master gardener himself, he'll often flag down one of the Sacramento master gardeners to discuss a seasonal topic, such as worm composting or cover crops or fruit tree pruning, for his podcast "Garden Basics with Farmer Fred."

He and I had a fun conversation at the year's final Open Garden, on Oct. 11, about the latest Sacramento Digs Gardening online cookbook, Taste Fall! Everyone else can listen in Friday, Oct. 27, when an edited version goes live on the podcast home page.

Hachiya persimmons
They'll be orange when fully ripe.

We discuss recipes for all those fall fruits shown in the photo above, as well as Hachiya persimmons. (The photo at right shows some of the still-ripening Hachiyas at the Horticulture Center.) The cookbook also includes recipes incorporating vegetables such as winter squash, pumpkins and Brussels sprouts.

And what about that big salad that's the featured photo in the cookbook? That's our Provence-inspired dinner salad, which we loaded up with everything fresh we could find in a south-of-France farmers market a year ago. Since Sacramento has a similar Mediterranean climate, it's an easy recipe to recreate (or adapt to personal taste) from produce at our local farmers markets. It truly celebrates our long growing season and the range of fresh food available nearby.

Check out Fred's earlier podcasts, too. The Oct. 20 episode with Don Shor of Davis' Redwood Nursery, in which they wrap up the 2023 tomato-growing season, is a must for vegetable gardeners.

Look for Sacramento Digs Gardening's Taste Winter! cookbook in late December or early January, after the holiday rush.

In the meantime, check out some cool ways to preserve fall produce, courtesy of the UCCE master food preservers. This link goes to a 26-page pdf that was part of a recent presentation by the Sacramento County master food preservers, "The 4 P's of Fall." (That is, pears, pomegranates, persimmons and pumpkin. Pesto is a bonus.) Many of the recipes involve drying or freezer-preserving, so you don't need a canning kettle or other gear. Good stuff!

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Taste Summer! E-cookbook

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Taste Spring! E-cookbook

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

Taste Fall! E-cookbook

Muffins and pumpkin

Find our fall recipes here!

Taste Winter! E-cookbook

Lemon coconut pancakes

Find our winter recipes here!