Twin Girls Farm is an amazing place. Located just southeast of Fresno against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, it’s a patchwork quilt of organic farmland pieced together over several decades by the Sanchez family. Nestled in the quiet town of Yettem, California (population 211!), Nacho and his wife Cassi run a great operation—one they take great pride in showing off. On a hot, late summer day in September, we drove down to walk through the orchards, taste the fruit right off the trees and meet the people who grow our food.
Founded in 1989, Twin Girls Farms is a family project through and through. While Nacho oversees the orchards, his wife Cassi runs the office and books (where she proudly points out that her shoes stay clean). The farm has grown organically, literally, over the years—adding an acre of land here and there. The result is a patchwork quilt of orchards spread across the surrounding valley. Plums are just a part of what is grown at Twin Girls Farms. In fact, they grow a huge variety of organic fruits, allowing them to have a year-round harvest. This also means that rather than bringing in a large number of seasonal workers for each harvest, they can instead have a small team of full time employees. Before we headed out to the orchards to taste the last plums of summer, we tried a few other treats—such as early season pomegranates and jujubees, a super-sweet small apple.
We loaded up into Nacho’s truck and headed into the orchards where the last plums of the season still clung to the trees. On our walk through the groves, we learned that plums are picked while still firm to ripen post-picking. We also learned that plums hold up to cold storage very well.
The natural, white, waxy coating of the plums is called “bloom” – it’s a natural wax that the plums develop to protect themselves from the elements. It’s easily rubbed off, revealing a brilliant purple skin beneath.
After tasting the fruit from the trees and sweating in the hot Yettem sun (100º+), we drove back to Nacho’s cold storage location where just-picked fruit is stored until it’s ready to deliver to regional farmer’s markets. Plums can be stored cold for weeks without any degradation to the fruit. Cases of yesterday’s harvest were brought out for us to sample. We worked with Cassi and Nacho to find the right balance of sweet and tart plums for our brew.
Stuffed to the brim with plums, we packed the trunk of our car with more samples for further tasting and “research” (read: plum crisps, homebrew and crumble for weeks) and headed back to San Francisco. When we see the Twin Girls stand at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, we don’t just see a myriad of jewel-like fruit, we see the culmination of Nacho and Cassi’s dreams and incredibly hard work. Working with small California farms, meeting the people that grow our food, and seeing where and how it grows are the best parts of our brewing process. Twin Girls Farms has been a sincere pleasure to work with and we can’t wait to go back with a bottle of our Farmhouse Pale in hand to share what we made with their glorious harvest.