Honey Crisp Farm
Reedley, CA
Telephone (209) 638 -3084
Fax: (559) 638-3084

A Plant Physiologist Comes to the Market
Dr. Art Lange, the owner of Honey Crisp Farm, is probably one of the most knowledgeable vendors at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Market about the stone fruit and citrus that he sells. He holds a Ph.D. in plant physiology and horticulture and during his 25-year career at the University of California, he specialized in trees and vines. In his spare time, he also conducted research on his own farm, planting various varieties of fruit trees and experimenting with new methods of growing trees and vines.

On the 15 acres that comprise Honey Crisp Farm, Dr. Lange has planted 200 varieties of trees. It seems hardly possible that with only 15 acres of land he could plant 200 varieties. But Dr. Lange has successfully applied the "hedgerow" method of cultivation, planting his trees very close together and keeping them trimmed to dwarf size, not the 18 - 20 foot trees you typically see. In addition to saving a lot of space, the dwarf size of his trees makes it much easier for him to harvest the fruit. Dr. Lange's trees are watered by drip irrigation, which is more water- efficient than the traditional furrow irrigation methods.

When he retired 15 years ago, Dr. Lange decided to begin selling the fruits of his research directly to consumers at farmers' markets around the Bay Area.

Market Schedule
His 15-acre farm produces about 3,000 - 5,000 boxes of fruit per year. He makes the 4-hour drive from Reedley, 22 miles southeast of Fresno, to San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market only on those Saturdays when he has enough ripe fruit to sell. So you won't see him there every week:

May to mid July     -

Peaches and Nectarines

Nov to Jan       -

Citrus and Pomegranates

(Dr. Lange also grows apples that he brings to other farmers' markets in the Bay Area from July - September.)

Whenever he's at the Market, you can count on him having something different to offer from the last time you saw him.

Peaches and Nectarines
Among his specialties are heirloom varieties of white peaches and nectarines that he says are the "extremely good" but very fragile. Stopping by his stand at any time during the peach and nectarine season (mid-May through the end of June) is like taking a botanical tour through most of the peach and nectarine world. Watch for these specialties:

Variety Approx. Start Date

Ruby Crest (yellow peach)


Spring Crest (yellow peach)

End of May

Sugar May (white peach)

June 1

Babcock (white peach)

June 20

May Diamond (yellow nectarine)

June 8

Arctic Rose (white nectarine)

June 30

Citrus and Pomegranates
Among the 19 varieties of citrus that Dr. Lange offers during the Nov - January season, he has 2 very usual items that attract knowledgeable customers:

Clementines A very small, almost dwarf-size orange, the size of a ping-pong ball, with an intense flavor. It is prized Europe for its intense yet rounded orange flavor, but it has not been popular in the U.S. Dr. Lange says that demand is now increasing in the U.S., so he has recently planted a few more trees. The clementine can be used to make a marmalade or candied in sugar syrup.
Oro Blanco A new uncommon variety of grapefruit that is very sweet and doesn't need any sugar added to it to enjoy.
Pomegranate Dr. Lange wishes that more people understood the medicinal value of pomegranates. The fruit is high in bioflavinoids which are thought to help the immune system. (See Ditty's Sunday Supper for a great recipe using pomegranate -- Sautéed Quail, Arugula and Pomegranate Salad.)

For a quick pick-me-up while you're shopping at the Market, you should try one of Dr. Lange's frozen fruit juice concoctions. He offers apple, nectarine, pomegranate-apple, straight pomegranate, lemonade, pink lemonade (colored with pomegranate juice or grape juice), and red lemonade (colored with nectarine juice or plum juice).

Other Markets
In addition to the Ferry Plaza Market on Saturdays, Dr. Lange goes to the San Rafael and Danville markets and his son Kurt goes to Santa Monica, Westwood and several other markets in the Los Angeles area.

May 1996; updated September 2000.

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