Clean Growers Peaches Are In, But Only For A Few More Days
Diane Rezendes, food writer
At Sigona’s, one of our most-anticipated signs of summer is the arrival of stone fruit. This week, we’re featuring peaches, one of our favorites. We’re getting them from Clean Growers, a third-generation small farm run by Paul Buxman and his family. It’s in Dinuba, Tulare County – just about three-and-a-half hours from here.
We think you’ll love these tree-ripened peaches. They’re succulent, juicy, and sweet. Bite into one and the flavor might just transport you to an idyllic summer afternoon.
Part of the reason these peaches are so special is that they are so very fresh. The Buxman family farmers pick them at the very peak of ripeness. Paul drives them directly to Sigona’s and a handful of other markets. Unlike many big operations, there’s no produce broker and the fruit spends no time in storage.
In short, the peach you’re about to enjoy went from tree to truck to you. About the only way you’d get it any fresher would be if you had your own tree!
And they’re certified California Clean.
Let’s talk for a minute about California Clean. You know about conventionally-grown produce, and you probably try to buy organic when you can. And you may have heard of something called California Clean, but may not be clear on what the term means.
All Sweet Home Ranch produce is certified California Clean. No pesticides – natural or synthetic – are employed. By using a rotation of beneficial insects, the Buxman family doesn’t have to employ pesticides: the bugs do the work for them. In fact, Sweet Home Ranch received the EPA’s first-ever Integrated Pest Management Innovators Award for advancing the reduction of pesticide use.
California Clean is a way of life for the farmer, farm workers, and the land. For a farm to be certified, it must be family-owned and occupied. The Buxmans have worked hard to create and nurture an extended family that includes the people who work the farm. Part of the land is reserved for workers to grow their own crops. That includes water, fertilizers, and the use of farming equipment. Families have free babysitting services available. And each worker gets an annual vacation to visit their own families, with the farm footing the cost of transportation.
Fruit that’s is too ripe to travel falls into the hands of Ruth Buxman. She makes delicious preserves, which we also sell. The fruit travels from the tree to the stove without leaving the farm, and the family stands at the stove making homemade preserves in small batches. Each jar is then stamped and hand-signed by either Ruth, Paul or their son.
We’ll carry Buxman’s fruit from Sweet Home Ranch throughout most of the summer. In addition to peaches, this third-generation family farm grows Santa Rosa plums, nectarines, Concord grapes, oranges and mandarins.