Green and Hemly Company Holds 49th Annual Barbecue: Crown Jewels' Atomic Torosian Discusses Hemly Pear Cider
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
SACRAMENTO, CA - Tradition is a signature of our industry, married with innovation to tie the past and the future together. Last week, Greene and Hemly Company, held its 49th Annual barbecue to celebrate both that successful growing history and to showcase an innovative offering for the future.
“We are happy to highlight our longtime pear and apple grower, Mr. Doug Hemly of Greene and Hemly Company, and his family that are all very active in the business,” Atomic Torosian of Crown Jewels tells me as we enjoy the company of members of the industry tied to the sixth generation treefruit growers. As for what we were sipping on as we discussed the tradition of the gathering, “The family has started a new venture, hard pear cider called ‘Hemly Cider,’ headed up by their daughter-in-law, Sarah Hemly.”
The first thing I noted as Sarah shared the cider with me was the taste difference between the drier cider, which struck me more as a white wine, and the sweeter cider--one for cider fans and ones who might not know they are yet. The second was the rising trend in fresh produce mixing with adult beverages, offering another fun avenue for the industry that also delivers an option for fruit that might otherwise not make it to the shelf.
“You are looking for the same flavor in a pear for both market and for cider, but they might not look the same so this is a great way to save that food,” Sarah smiles as she tells me about the process of choosing pears for Hemly Cider.
It's a creative development to add to a the branch of a very deeply rooted grower family and partner, Atomic says. “Doug and his wife, Cathy, their daughter Virginia Hemly-Chabra, and their son Matt Hemly [Sarah’s husband], have been our growers for more than 20 years. Their family descendants have been growing pears since the 1850s on the banks of the Sacramento River in the area of Courtland, California,” he explains.
By that river, at the home and groves of the family, was a beautiful setting for the event of people celebrating both the company and the industry history.
Greene and Hemly provides not only pears, but also have a full program of California apples, including Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn and Pink Lady apples, some of which also make it into the cider.
Crown Jewels currently plans to start Stark Crimson Red Pears the first week of July and Bartlett pears on July 5th. After that, Atomic says, the company will get Golden Bosc pears under way the week of July 25th. Gala apples will be packed the last week of July, Granny Smith apples in late August, then Braeburn and Fuji apples in early September, finishing up with Pink Lady apples in early October.
As for its melon program, Crown Jewels’ California Cantaloupe and Honeydew program out of Mendota, California, kicks off the week of July 4th with volume kicking in by the week of July 18th.
“We will run with both commodities all summer long under the “Crown Jewels” label and finish up mid October,” Atomic says, adding that demand has been very steady on Cantaloupes and Honeydews from Mexico and the desert areas.