The orchard is now closed for the season. I want to thank all who came out this year and also say I'm sorry to those of you who came out only to find out that we were sold out already. Trust me when I tell you that this is not the season we had hoped for. Normally, we would make it to the 3rd week of October but this year it was not in the cards. I can already tell that the trees are looking good going onto winter. They have begun to set buds for next year and if we have a more normal winter and spring, we should have a very good crop. Time will tell. But now its time to put the trees and the bees to bed for the winter. Thanks again!
The orchard will be open Saturday the 21st at 10am. We will have Honey Crisp. At this point, we have a pretty decent supply but if we get busy like we have been in the past, we may sell out. If we get rained out or we dont sell out, then we will also be open on Sunday the 22nd. Unless its really pouring out on Saturday, we will be open. If in doubt, just give us a call.
The orchard will be open this Saturday, September 14th at 10am. We will have McIntosh and a smaller quantity of Prairie Magic. McIntosh is a very tart and crisp apple. For those who like it, you know what I mean. It makes an excellent pie among other things. Prairie Magic is alittle sweeter and not quite as hard but still a very good apple with a great taste! As I have said before this fall, the crop this year is quite small compared to other years. That being said, we have about 15 trees worth of McIntosh, so if thats what you like, then dont wait too long. We will be open Saturday until 3 or until we run out. If we dont run out, then we will be open Sunday at noon until we run out. For those of you that want to know, the Honey Crisp should be ready next weekend. I tried one and it still needs more time to sweeten up. I'll keep you posted!
Looks like the fall type weather is going to continue and thats a great thing if you like to pick apples! We will be picking the last of the State Fair and Zestar this weekend. We will also have Chestnut Crab available if you like smaller apples for jelly. If you like tart apples, then you will like McIntosh. They will probably be ready next weekend. The one that everyone is asking about is the Honey Crisp. They are 2-3 weeks out yet. They need to sweeten up a bit. Just check back here and I'll let you know whats up! This will be the last weekend for both Zestar and State Fair, so if you like either one, then dont wait.
Ok, here we go! The orchard will open for the season this Saturday, August 31 from 10-3 and Sunday, September 1, from 12-3. If we sell out for the day, we may close earlier. I have said for awhile now that the season for us will be a short one, so if you want fresh apples, then dont wait too long. We will be picking State Fair and Zestar this weekend. State Fair is more of a tart apple and the Zestar is alittle more sweet. Both are great on their own and are good for eating or making just about anything you like.
With alittle over a week to go, things are starting to ripen up. I tried a State Fair this morning and its still tart, but the seeds are beginning to turn. When the seeds turn brown to dark black, thats means its time. That and the taste. The Zestar need alittle more time, so lets hope they will be ready by next weekend. Early on we are going to try and be open on Sunday and see how the supply holds out. We may have to close early depending on how busy we are. If you are thinking about it, dont wait too long.
We also finished extracting our first batch of honey today and it looks and taste great! There is nothing better than fresh local honey. Last year, we ran out about the end of September, so again, if you like fresh honey then dont wait. I will be keeping the website up to date on a weekly basis or more often if need be, so if you are thinking about coming to the orchard this fall, just check in here. See you soon!
The orchard will be opening for the fall season on Saturday August 30 at 10am. Because of the size of the crop this year our hours will be Saturdays only from 10-3 or until we sell out. This has been a different year for us. We had a hard winter followed by a late and cold spring, topped off by a hard frost on June 13. The trees were already behind by 2-3 weeks when we got the late frost. Because of all this we have apples on about 20% of our trees. In all the years that we have grown apples, we have never had this happen before. After talking to a few other growers, I found out we were not alone. Most of the trees survived and will hopefully do better next year. The entire orchard is 2-3 weeks behind and that is why we are opening later than usual. All you can do is take it in stride and keep moving! It will get better and of that I have no doubt!!
On the brighter side, the bees survived the winter and did very well this summer. We will be pulling honey off the hives starting next week and hope to have it ready by the end of August. Right now the bees are working Golden Rod. Like most wild flowers, it has good years and bad. This year seems to be a good one. The honey has a very good flavor, but then I think that all honey has a good flavor. The season is just about here and Ill be sure to keep things up to date with the website.
With about 5-6 weeks to go until the early varieties will be ready, I thought I would give you all a quick update. The early apples, which are State Fair and Zestar, are about the size of a half dollar right now. The weather so far this summer has been good. We have had ample amounts of rain at the right time. We are in the heat of summer now, but as long as we continue to get those late night rains, we should be fine. After the early varieites are done, the next inline would be McIntosh, followed by Honey Crisp. They also seem to be doing well. The bees are also off to a great start. The stronger colonies are putting up honey by the box and everything seems to be blooming at the right time. They also like the heat and will continue to collect nectar right up to dark when it stays warm out. Lets just hope it continues!!
So lets start off with the good news. The fruit set is underway and for the trees that have fruit, they look good. Barring any bad weather or hail , they should do fine. Now for the other side of the coin. In almost 20 years of growing apples on a large scale, this is without a doubt, the worst I have ever seen it. Of the 14 varieties that we have, only 5 or 6 have actually set fruit. We have literally hundreds of trees that do not have any apples on them. I have kept very detailed records over the years and it basically boils down to weather. We had a very harsh winter and a prolonged and cooler than normal spring that ended with a frost on June 13. Way later than it should have been. All of these things put together, just did not help. Most of the trees survived and will probably do better next year....I hope. We did loose some trees because of the winter, but thats gotten to be a normal thing. We grow alot of trees that are zone 4 trees and when we have hard winters, they sometimes just cant handle it. So many things happened and all at the same time, so we will just deal with it.
On a brighter side, the trees that did ok, seem to be fine and should have a good crop. We will have a shorter season and the orchard will not be open as long as usual, but we can deal with that as well. The bees look to be having a good year at this point too, so thats a good thing. Lets keep our fingers crossed that we dont have any nasty storms in the next few months.