Fruit and Cheese Board

Chances are, you’ve seen a perfectly styled cheese or charcuterie board on social media. While cheese, meat, and crackers can make any crowd pretty happy; we feel that no charcuterie is complete without our HMC Farms fruit.  The sweet flavors of our tree fruit and table grapes perfectly compliment the savory meat and cheese that are classic cheese board staples.

What you’ll need to copy our board:

  • 4-6 pieces of HMC Farms fruit
    • We used 2 plumcots, 2 nectarines, and a large peach
  • HMC Farms grapes
    • We used Bunchkins, which are perfect for this, but our other grapes work well also.
  • 3 kinds of cheese
    • We used 3 types of Vintage Cheese from nearby Bravo Farms: Dutch-Style Gouda, Chipotle Cheddar, and Classico (this one is a hard goat cheese) – we suggest using one cheese that crumbles well
  • 2 types of meat – salami, prosciutto, etc.
    • We used sliced peppered salami and dry salami nuggets
  • Crackers, crisps, or a sliced baguette
    • We used cranberry pumpkin seed crisps and mini Croccatini crackers
  • 1-2 kinds of nuts
    • We used raw almonds and cashews
  • Honey
    • We used chipotle honey from a local stand
  • Green garnish
    • We used oregano from our home garden, but rosemary is a beautiful accent.

The perfect board is a combination of beauty and taste. We started by placing our cheeses in three different spots around the board. We sliced the softer cheeses, and crumbled the hard cheese, while leaving it inside the rind for aesthetic purposes. Next, we sliced our HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, and plumcots, and placed them in three different spots on the board. We’ve found that the board looks best when the anchor items, in this case cheeses and fruit, on different thirds of the board. Our jar of honey went right in the middle of the board.

Tip: A lot of our HMC peaches and nectarines are clingstone varieties. We’ve found that the easiest way to create pretty slices of fruit is to place the fruit on a cutting board with the stem side down and slice straight down on each side around the pit. These larger pieces can be sliced more easily that trying to separate each slice from the pit individually.

After placing the stone fruit, we added our Bunchkins Champagne grapes. These petite bunches of fun practically scream charcuterie board, and we are still in their narrow window of availability. Once the Bunchkins have completed harvest and are no longer available, try replacing them with our delicious HMC Farms California table grapes.

The open spaces remaining on the board were then filled in with the salami and crackers, followed by the nuts and garnish.

Tip: An easy way to make sliced salami look fancy is to fold it into quarters (in half once, and then in half again so that it is shaped like a slice of pizza) and then wedge it together with the rounded side up.

Honestly, we had to hold back the whole office to take photos of the board. It was promptly devoured as soon as we finished the photos. You can expect a similar reaction when serving a fruit and cheese board at your next BBQ, game night, or book club. People love these delightful mini buffets, and HMC Farms fruit will elevate your board to the next level.

We hope you enjoy our fruit and cheese board guide. Tag us in your fruit and cheese board photos on Facebook (@HMCfarmsKingsburg) and Instagram (@HMCfarms)!

 

P.S. We learned how to make cheese boards from @ainttooproudtomeg on her Instagram feed. Check it out for more ideas on different types of board styles and ways to elevate your cheese board game.

HMC News – July 10, 2019

HMC Farms recently hosted a group of college students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Fresno State University who are participating in the Western Growers Careers in Ag program. The students mostly represent STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and visited HMC Farms to learn about different types of careers available to them at a vertically integrated farming business. In addition to an open discussion about potential careers and the future of agriculture, the students were able to visit our orchards and vineyards to get an up-close view of our farming activities.

Crop Update:

Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Our early table grape varieties are on the cusp of harvest. The forecast shows hot and sunny days ahead, with highs in the 100s beginning Friday, and lasting until at least the middle of next week – the longest stretch of days 100° or higher we’ve had this year.

HMC News – July 3, 2019

Our table grapes have moved into the veraison stage. During veraison, the berries on the grape clusters begin to soften and change color, as pictured above. This color change marks the onset of ripening. From this point, the grapes pictured above will ripen fairly quickly.

Crop Update:

Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines. Table grape harvest is still tracking slightly behind last year’s harvest dates, but will begin soon. Weather over the past 10-14 days has been very cooperative with the start of our table grape veraison. Hot and sunny days are in the forecast, just touching 100° over the weekend before dropping back down, but overnight lows should remain mostly in the low 60s.

Peach al pastor challenge at Tacos, Brews & Jams

(above photo by Mike Oz)

Every month, Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company in downtown Fresno hosts Tacos, Brews & Jams – curated by journalist and local foodie Mike Oz. As the name suggests, the event is complete with food trucks, beer from the host brewery, and live music; plus several local vendors. The theme of this month’s TB&J was a peach al pastor challenge. Three local peach growers were paired up with three local food trucks to replace the traditional pineapple used in al pastor with something more representative of the Central Valley’s bounty: peaches. As a bonus, or perhaps the inspiration behind the theme, Tioga Sequoia brews Half Dome beer, which is made with local peaches. For this event, special Half Dome Beer Slushies were available for purchase – the perfect complement to tacos on a warm summer day.

HMC Farms was paired up with Gonzalez Taqueria from Fresno for the challenge, and the results were delicious! In addition to cooking the al pastor meat with peaches, Gonzalez Taqueria added slices of the cooked peaches to the tacos. Like icing on the cake, our peaches were also made into salsa to top the taco perfection cooked up by Luis Gonzalez. Our only complaint about the whole event is that we can’t eat those delicious tacos for dinner every day!

Keep an eye out for more collaborations between HMC Farms and local businesses this summer, we’ve got a few more fun pairings appearing in the coming months…

Cat Eye View Photography captured some great moments from the event (see below)

photo credit: Cat Eye View Photography
photo credit: Cat Eye View Photography
photo credit: Cat Eye View Photography
photo credit: Cat Eye View Photography

 

HMC News – June 26, 2019

Last week, a group of California State Senators and representatives from the California Fresh Fruit Association visited HMC Farms in order to get a behind-the-scenes look into what farming is like, and the difficulties that farmers in California face. We always welcome the opportunity to educate our politicians about the risks and opportunities we face as a farming business in California. Our guests included Senators Steven Glazer from Orinda (7th district), Melissa Hurtado from Sanger (14th district), Scott Wiener from San Francisco (11th district), General Richard Roth from Riverside (31st district), and Bob Wieckowski from Fremont (10th district).

Crop Update:

Harvest remains ongoing for HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, and plums. We are in the last week of bunch thinning in our table grape vineyards, which will essentially wrap up pre-harvest labor. Table grape harvest is still a couple of weeks away. A slight break in heat is in this week’s forecast, with temperatures climbing back up to the mid 90s by Monday.

HMC News – June 5, 2019

It appears that the unusual weather period has passed, and we are now into hot and sunny days, which is typical of weather at HMC Farms in early June. The fairly sudden change in temperature has caused our tree fruit to begin maturing more rapidly, leading our farm management team to adapt to the changes while remaining selective in harvest to avoid any lingering issues from the adverse weather. We anticipate that things should be back to normal by next week.

Crop Update:

Plum harvest at HMC Farms should increase in the next couple of weeks and be in full swing in the second half of this month. The cool weather previously slowed down the sizing of our table grapes, but with the shift to warmer temperatures they are now beginning to size at a faster pace. We are leafing and tipping in our vineyards. Tipping involves trimming each bunch in order to obtain the best size, color, and flavor for harvest.

HMC News – May 29, 2019

This month has been the strangest weather we can remember at HMC Farms in the month of May. On Sunday, we received nearly 1.5″ of rain, and the high temperature was 58°. We have adjusted to deal with issues caused by the unusual weather, meaning that the fruit tastes great, but we are losing quite a bit to get it into the box. We will have to wait to see what impact the weather has had on our grapes as we approach table grape season. As the weather returns to normal, the problems we have faced in our orchards should correct themselves

Crop Update:

Peach, nectarine, and summerwhite harvest remains ongoing. Plum harvest has begun with light volumes of Flavor Rosa plums. We estimate that the HMC Farms grape harvest will begin on par with, or possibly slightly behind, last year’s dates. The forecast shows temperatures warming up into the low 90s by early next week, which is more consistent with historical averages.

HMC News – May 22, 2019

The names of tree fruit varietals often come from the nursery, but occasionally we have the opportunity to name them ourselves. Our Krista peaches are named after our very own Krista Jensen Carlson!

Crop Update:

Tree fruit thinning is approximately 75% complete in our orchards. Peach, nectarine, and summerwhite harvest remains ongoing. Plum harvest is scheduled to begin soon. Grape harvest is estimated to begin at about the same time as last year, which could be impacted slightly by weather.

Adverse weather remains active through this weekend. While it is not good for our crops to have rain so far into the harvest season, we have been able to mitigate damages to this point. There has been minimal impact on our crops in comparison to some other types of active crops. We will continue to monitor the weather with a close eye as more rain approaches.

 

 

 

HMC News – May 15, 2019

Chelsea (McClarty) Ketelsen and Sarah McClarty are featured on the current edition of Western Grower & Shipper magazine. The issue’s focus is women in agriculture breaking stereotypes. Chelsea is our Vice President and Sarah is our Chief Financial Officer, both crucial positions in our leadership structure. They are joined by several other women at HMC Farms in key leadership roles – from Packing House Manager to Director of Food Safety. Click here to read the full article.

Crop Update:
Peach harvest is increasing, with nectarines, white peaches, and white nectarines beginning harvest this week. Once again, a chance of rain has popped up in our weekly forecast. We will continue to monitor weather developments as they occur.

HMC News – May 8, 2019

Harvest is beginning in our peach orchards this week! Yellow nectarines, white peaches, and white nectarines are scheduled to begin harvest next week. We anticipate being in full volume harvest by the week of May 20.

Around this time of year, each grape berry reveals a tiny flower called bloom. The clusters of grapes have an excess of berries, so we need to thin them during the bloom. Because thinning grapes by hand would be quite time consuming and costly, we complete grape thinning by spraying. This process allows room for each berry to grow to an appropriate size, resulting in better quality grapes. The timing of this spray is crucial to its success.

Precipitation has crept back into the weekly forecast. We will continue to monitor the weather closely as we approach potential thunderstorms.