Contemplating drops in an organic orchard
Oct/25/2011 01:57 PM Filed in: orchard
We have customers every year who ask us if we offer drops for sale. We do not, despite not using them for cider or anything else, because our drops are full of holes and other damage. The other day I was remembering picking drops in my childhood, and how the ground was littered with perfect quality apples. We never bought tree-picked fruit. The contrast between those apples and the ones we pick up in our orchard is pretty amazing, and makes me realize how sterile those orchards of my childhood must have been. I can’t even imagine what was used on the orchard floors to keep the drops from being eaten. Our drops usually have some kind of damage - most drop off the tree in the first place because they were damaged by an insect pest, so they start their time on the ground with some kind of hole. Then once they are on the ground, they are quickly nibbled on by voles, slugs, and ants. If the ground is wet, fungus can start to grow on the apple almost immediately. We see this in action despite our best efforts to pick up apples within a week of them hitting the ground, to prevent pests in the apples from continuing their life cycle.
To be fair, the apples I picked as a kid were MacIntosh, which drop off the tree the minute they are ripe. Nonetheless, I just don’t remember the underlayer of rotting, nasty apples we would have if we left apples on the ground for a week or more.