Orchard Chronicles

Episode 11: Harvest Season Has Arrived!


It seems our new found purpose is the proper feeding and care of the grey squirrel population of St. John’s creek area.  A steady diet of Pomegranates arils and old vine Zin has them feeling well… I’m sure.

We salvaged enough of our Zinfandel production this year to have a freezer full of grapes for Grape Jelly to be made by our very own Person in Charge – Nonna Gianina!  Watch for that while my wife's late uncle Big O watches out for our grapes from now on. (9/9/16 update - Macala Grape Jelly yield was 6 jars and we sold out in 3 days).

Pomegranates look beautiful and good size … at least those that are still on the trees.  We are working overtime to defeat the battle of the critters and the split.  Trees get stressed this time of year, especially in these dry times we live in in SW Riverside County.

Macala Olives are looking very good.  Every year at this time we find a few on the ground where some animal who has not found out prior tries to eat a few of them … and learns that they are NOT GOOD TO EAT right off the tree.  We see no evidence of the Olive Fruit Fly!  Our Olives are ripening later than normal as is everything at Villa Macala. 

This last weekend in August we harvested 1.5 gallons of Bella di Cerignola olives and are in the process of our annual lye cure of these the largest of the olive varietals.  They originate in Puglia, Italy around the city of Cerignola, which Genine and I visited on our last visit to THE BOOT.  These will end up a buttery large green table olive that everyone loves (not for sale-we just share with family and friends).

Our Guava crop is going to be the largest ever.  We are thankful to the Pope Family (I think) for this “gift” and surprised at how well these trees do in our climate here and the micro climate of the north east facing slope of Guava Canyon.  Happy trees for sure and we are keeping them pruned small and open for easier harvesting on the slope and among the boulders.  Beautiful fruit on the Hawaiin Guava’s.  We are hopeful to have a small crop of Brazilian Guava’s also and save them from the critters who have been the beneficiaries of these two small and slow growing trees every year so far.  Guava Leaf Tea will become a staple product of Macala and its health benefits are great while I love the taste better then any tea I drink.

Best fig crop yet and Nonna Gianina made the greatest fig jam ever!  Get it while it lasts.  We intend to expand our production of figs and Macala Fig Jam.  Thanks to the Big O, for the original cuttings.

We had successful initial development of 3 camp sites that we offered for campers through Hip Camp sites this year and we are continuing to develop them.  Elderberry Park site will be able to accommodate a large group when done of possibly 6 or 7 or more tents.  We also have two sites for smaller groups of 2 tents maximum and ready now, one in Olive Orchard #4.

All in all Villa Macala is a great retreat and a natural place to let time retreat to its rightful place in our lives!


Olives ready to be harvested at our 9/10/16 harvest!