Harvest is approaching
Aug/23/2013 03:10 PM Filed in: orchard
We had our first peach crop this year that was too big for us to eat all by ourselves. This year, the Reliance peach trees are big enough to give us a few bushels to sell, though the later varieties still need to grow bigger before we can sell any of them. It has been wonderful to have peaches around to eat any time we want. I used Red Havens for canning this year, they peel and split in half so easily I may never can Reliance peaches again. I hope they taste as good as they look. As of yesterday, we sold all the Reliance peaches we had to sell.
We are on the verge of having four hard cider varieties available. We bottled the ice cider, and will be bottling the cyser soon too. The cyser is our one dry, still cider this year, since the sparkling and hop ciders are both sparkling, and the ice cider has some sweetness, since we stopped fermentation by transferring the liquid off of the yeast multiple times.
The apples are coloring up and sizing up well. We plan to open for picking Friday, September 20th, and will be open through Columbus Day weekend (though we are likely to be out of apples by the Monday of that weekend). At the farm, we will have apple picking, pre picked apples, hard cider, sweet cider, donuts, and jams. We have moved our retail area into the barn to give us some more space, as we have outgrown the retail space in the cider mill.
We are experimenting with parasitic nematodes to control some of our pests, namely apple and peach borer (which bore into the young trees until they snap off) and codling moth, the quintessential worm in the apple. Because both of these pests spend time in or near the ground, we can spray the nematodes (which are tiny worms) on the ground under the trees and on the lower trunks so they can parasitize the pests. A number of studies have shown these are effective, though the weather conditions have to be just right. So we are hopeful that this very focused pest management practice can improve apple quality and save our young trees.