Goldbud Farms
2501 Carson Road
Placerville, CA 95667
Telephone: (916) 626-6521
Fax: (916) 626-5149

Fruit with a Golden Glow
Diagonally opposite Eatwell Farms' impressive and always-crowded vegetable stand at the southern entrance to the Saturday San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, you'll find the equally impressive and equally crowded fruit stand of Goldbud Farms glowing yellow umbrellas that accentuate the translucent golden glow of their fruit.

Putting Down Roots in Placerville
When Ron Mansfield, the owner/manager of Goldbud Farms, graduated from U.C. Davis in 1976 with a degree in Renewable Natural Resources, he wasn't sure where he was headed career-wise. He spent the first few years out of school working as a seasonal harvest hand, picking tomatoes and pears, before an opportunity came up to work at the University of California's Extension Service based in Placerville (in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) doing research on farming-related problems.

He fell in love with Placerville and was determined to find a way he could stay there. Fortunately, that opportunity came when a friend from southern California agreed to co-invest with Ron to start a fruit orchard operation. They bought a small run-down orchard and began replanting, first cherries then expanding into other stone fruits. Today, Ron owns a 50-acre orchard and also manages an additional 200 acres. The farm consists of 90 acres of apples, 60 acres of wine grapes, and 20 acres each of cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines and pears.

A Well-Laid Out Schedule
With reasonable predictability about the harvest time of his fruits, Ron has developed a comprehensive schedule of what his customers at the Market can expect throughout the year. But you'll rarely see Ron at the Market. He works a 7-day week on the farm during the harvest season -- picking and packing fruit to ship to wholesalers and preparing direct mail-orders.

You will find on average 4 different types of fruit at their stand every Saturday throughout the year, except for a brief period in March and April when there is no fruit to harvest from Goldbud's Sierra foothills orchards.

Here's an indispensable guide to Goldbud's seasons:

Cherries Peaches Nectarines Plums Pears Apples
May 20 - May 25

June 5 - July 1

June 10 - June 25

June 15 - July 1

June 15 - June 25

June 25 - July 5

June 25 - July 5

Spring Lady
June 25- July 5

July 5 - July 20

July 20 - July 30

July 20 - Aug 1

July 20 - Aug 1

July 25 - Aug 10

Fay Elberta
Aug 10 - Aug 20

Aug 15 - Aug 30

Aug 20 - Sept 20

Cal Red
Aug 25 - Sept 25

Indian Blood
Sept 10 - Sept 20

Sept 20 - Oct 5

Sept 20 - Oct 5

Last Chance
Sept 25 - Oct 10

Snow Queen
July 5 - July 20

July 20 - Aug 5

July 20 - Aug 5

Red Diamond
July 20 - Aug 5

Arctic Rose
July 25 -Aug 10

Summer Grand
July 25 - Aug 20

Aug 10 - Aug 20

Red Gold
Aug 10 - Aug 30

Sparkling Red
Aug 20 - Sept 1

Royal Giant
Aug 20 - Sept 10

Late Le Grand
Aug 30 - Sept 10

Flaming Red
Sept 10 - Sept 25

Sept 10 - Sept 25

Sept 20 - Oct 10


Santa Rosa
July 5- July 20

Queen Rosa
July 10 - July 20

July 20 - Aug 10

July 25 - Sept 1

Aug 5 - Sept 15

Aug 15 - Sept 15

Aug 25 - Sept 15

Royal Diamond
Aug 25 - Sept 15

Aug 25 - Sept 20

Sept 1 - Sept 25

Elephant Heart
Sept 1 - Sept 25

Queen Ann
Sept 5 - Sept 25

Autumn Rosa
Sept 25 - Oct 10

Amanda Rosa
Sept 25 - Oct 15


Early Bartlett
July 5 - July 15

July 25 - Sept 15

Red Sensation
Aug 10 - Sept 15

Asian Pears
- Kikisui
- Hosui
- Kosu
- Yali
Aug 15 - Sept 20

French Butter
Aug 20 - Oct 1

Yellow Salad
Sept 15 - Oct 15

Buerre Bosc
Sept 15 - Oct 15

Oct 1 - Nov 25


Golden Delicious
Sept 5 - Dec 20

Sept 5- Oct 20

Royal Gala
Sept 5 - Oct 10

Red Delicious
Sept 15 - Nov 1

Sept 15 - Oct 15

Sept 20 - Nov 1

Granny Smith
Oct 1 - Dec 20

Red Rome
Oct 1 - Dec 20

Oct 15 - Jan 1

Oct 15 - Jan 1

Thriving in Mountain Air and Mountain Soil
Ron's 250 acres extend across different elevations of the foothills, ranging from 2,800 ft. to 3,000 ft. and are volcanic soil which is rich in minerals. He claims that these gifts of Mother Nature give him 3 advantages over most other Northern California fruit growers who are concentrated in lower elevations, closer to sea-level where the soil is alluvial:

  1. At a 2,800 ft. elevation, the fruit enjoys hot days, which encourage growth, and cool nights, which slow down growth allowing the fruit to rest. This constant day/night variation means that the fruit grows more slowly. But by maturity, you'll find that it's much bigger than comparable fruit grown at sea-level.
  2. By carefully selecting varieties to plant at different elevations, Ron is able to extend his harvest season beyond other growers who are located in uni-climate conditions. So he's able to harvest peaches, plums and nectarines from July through October and apples from early September through Christmas.
  3. Volcanic soil of the foothills is rich in minerals which accentuate the flavor of the fruit and give it a noticeable golden glow.

Goldbud's Extensive Scope
Ron estimates that about 50% of his crop is sold in the greater San Francisco Bay Area through a combination of 2-3 farmers' markets and wholesale channels. The other 50% is sold throughout the U.S. and is exported through wholesalers.

Most of it is sold fresh. Only a very small portion of his fruit is processed: cherries are made into a sauce, various fruits are dried and apples are made into juice.

Goldbud's Philosophy: "Eat It as Soon as you Buy It"
We've find that almost all the fruit we buy at the Market is perfectly ripe and doesn't have a long shelf-life. Ron confirms our observations: "Goldbud's fruit is picked within one day of perfect maturity so you have about 3 days to enjoy it at the peak of ripeness."

Don't Miss These Gems
I've discovered that Goldbud offers a few very special items that aren't available generally available elsewhere in the Market. These items aren't featured at the Goldbud stand because the crop is small, so you'll have to keep an eye out for them. These include:      Seckel Pears, Concord Grapes, and Quince.

Other Highlights

October 1996


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