Good Fruit Grower

February 15

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 47

24 FEBRUARY 15, 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER fruit," he said. "We evolved from growing it for drying to developing a niche market of diverse varieties and relying on the quality of the fruit to sell itself." Andy's Orchard is located 15 miles from the San Jose- Santa Clara Valley metropolis, one of the ten most popu- lated in the nation. His location gives him access to more than a million potential customers, but it also influences what he does and how. Mariani is from a large winemaking and fishing family from the Adriatic Islands in the sea separating Italy from the Balkan peninsula. His father came to America in 1931 and, by 1935, had saved enough to purchase a small apri- cot orchard in Cupertino and bring his wife and family to America. The homestead place (which now is across the street from Apple headquarters) was sold in 1957 and the farm relocated about 30 miles south to Morgan Hill. Mariani split off from farming the family orchards with his brother in 2003 to farm separately. Urban fringe Because he's growing fruit on the urban fringe, he doesn't have extensive acreage like those in California's San Joaquin Valley. With less than 60 acres, he has to maximize profit on a small amount of land. "The way I've done that is by specializing and capitalizing on the consumer's growing interest in highly flavorful fruit," he said. When Mariani talks about his fruit and growing location in the Santa Clara Valley, his wine roots are apparent. He uses terms like terroir (the French word I n the early 1960s, Andy Mariani's father grew apri- cots and prunes in California's Santa Clara Valley, some for canneries, but mostly for drying. Fifty years later, Mariani is still following his father's "old-fashioned" ways of picking tree-ripened fruit with high sugar, only now it's called artisanal fruit. When his father dried fruit, there was incentive to grow very sweet, tree-ripened fruit, said Mariani, explaining that sugar affects the drying ratio. "The more sugar, the more weight and yield you have in your dried fruit," said the 70-year-old owner of Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill, California. "That's basically what we're doing now—we didn't lose that perspective of growing tree-ripened, flavorful MELISSA HANSEN/GOOD FRUIT GROWER Andy Mariani dries and packs his own apricots and sells them through his farm store and online. Andy Mariani and his tree-ripened fruit have a cult-like following. by Melissa Hansen Andy's Orchard at "You have to know your market ϔǡǡ Ǥdz —Andy Mariani Andy Mariani holds a box of apricots and peaches at his Morgan Hill, California, orchard. Flavor reigns

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - February 15