In January, I stayed an extra night after my meetings in Sacramento to have the chance to visit Otow Orchard. Driving east into a fierce rainstorm was not the smartest decision, yet I was still thrilled to visit this 100+ year old Japanese-American family farm in Granite Bay.
Recently Slow Food USA posted on FB about Frog Hollow's first attempt at making hoshigaki that lead me to look at its Ark of Taste page too. It was odd to me that neither Slow Food reference talked about this Japanese-American farm that has continued this ancient tradition and passed on the technique to the next generation of persimmon growers in Placer County. One of my Japanese-American friends had recommended Otow as her family's favorite producer of hoshigaki. I'd gotten hoshigaki religion after tasting some homemade ones.
The crop was tiny in 2018 and Otow bought fruit from neighbors to supplement its own harvest. I also bought some Satsuma mandarins and a neighbor's eggs.
I purchased some of each grade and also the sliced strips. The hoshigaki from Otow's own crop were the finest with thick pulp and deep, almost chocolatey flavor frosted with natural sugar. While hoshigaki are not inexpensive, the pricing regimen did seem to follow the differences in quality.
Otow will start taking advance orders again in September. Even after it ceases orders, a small supply can be on hand for drop-in customers, which is how I was able to buy them in January after calling to confirm availability.
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