The time is getting closer and in about a month, it will be time to start picking apples. The crop looks pretty good right now and baring anymore nasty storms, we should be good. The storm we had about a week ago did some hail damage to some of the trees but we should be able to still use the damaged apples as cider. Overall, the summer has been good to the trees. The one drawback to all this rain is that the weeds really grow and it hides mice and gophers, which can get to be a real problem. The other plus to all this rain is that the bees are doing great! There has been an abundance of flowers for them to take advantage of this summer and it looks like the honey crop will be excellent. If you like and appreciate local, raw honey, then you will be in for a real treat! Heres hoping the next month goes smoothly!
Its been just over a month since the bloom finished and the trees are coming along nicely. Right now the early apples are about the size of a quarter and the later varieties are abit smaller. The rainfall has been just about right and the bugs havent been too bad either......so far.
After accessing the winter damage, it looks like we lost around 25-30 trees. There will be a few more next spring because if I think I can save the tree, I will let it go allittle longer before I dig it up. I usually loose a few trees each winter but this last winter was probably the worst I have had to deal with. I guess they call that farming!
The bees are also doing well and doing what they are supposed to do and thats make honey. I have one colony this year that has been very crabby, which is unusual for me. After being stung several times, I decided to re-queen it and see if it makes a difference. It should, but only time will tell. The hive always has the same temperament that the queen has. So if she is aggressive, then the hive will be too. In this case, since she was so aggressive, I had to replace her and the new queen will calm the rest down. In theory.
Other than that, the orchard is looking good for this fall. Some varieties will not be as plentiful as last year but then other varieties will make up for that. Lets just hope that the weather continues to cooperate and avoids us with any nasty storms!
Its alittle late, but the bloom has arrived . This year, everything is about 10 days to 2 weeks behind. Right now, about 75% of the orchard is in full bloom. If you remember back to last fall and winter, we had very cold temps and no snow on the ground and that is very hard on apple trees in this neck of the woods. I am still assessing, but we did loose trees because of it. The question will be, how many. Thats ok! Thats why we planted more in the beginning. Growing apples this far north is a constant game of digging up and replanting. More so here than in other areas. Anyway, the bees are happy and the trees are doing their thing. There is nothing like walking in the orchard when all those trees are in full bloom. The sites and smells are great. Keep your fingers crossed. with alittle rain , we could have a dandy of a season!
The orchard is now closed for the season. We had another great year and would like to thank everyone who came out and got apples and cider. Every year has been alittle better than the one before. This year we had to contend with alot of rain. We only had 1 or 2 completely dry weekends the entire season. Thats ok, we just made it work. Next year we will be introducing 3 new varieties for you to try. Goodland, Prairie Magic and Frostbite. All 3 are great in their own right, but you'll have to try them and see what you think. But now its time to put the orchard and the bees to bed for the winter so thank you all again and we will see you next fall!
This Saturday will our last day of the season. Its hard to believe but the orchard has been open for just over 2 months already. We will be picking Haralson/Haralred and Snow Sweet. We will have cider and we also will have a good supply of seconds. If you are looking for apples to make apple sauce or pies, then these are just for you. There is nothing wrong with them, they just are'nt as pretty as the rest and maybe a bit smaller. Our hours this weekend will be Saturday from 10-3 and Sunday from noon-3. Come on out one last time and help us put the orchard to bed for the season. See you on Saturday!!
The leaves are turning and the weather looks like it is going to cooperate this weekend and we will be ready! After being rained out last Sunday, we are ready for some nice fall weather. This weekend we will be picking Haralson/Haralred and Snow Sweet. Both are hard, crisp and juicy apples and each have there own flavor. We will also have cider and with any luck I might have a bonfire going as well. You only have 2 weekends left, so if you still have'nt tried your new favorite apple, this would be the weekend to do it! See you on Saturday!!
Fall is here and we are coming down the home stretch. We have 2 weekends for sure and maybe 3 and the season will be over. Its hard to believe that the orchard has already been open for 6 weeks, but it has! The season goes by really fast. Every year, I'm amazed at how fast things go. Seems like a couple of weeks ago we were planting and now here it is fall already.
This weekend, we will be picking the last of the McIntosh and Sweet Sixteen and we will start picking Haralson/Haralred and Snow Sweet. If you like a good sweet and tart apple, then the Haralson is for you. It has been one of Minnesotas most popular apples for a long time. The Haralred is almost the same as the Haralson except that its alittle bit more red in color. The taste of the 2 is identical. Snow Sweet is a firm, crisp apple that is very slow to oxidize. In other words, it doesnt turn brown right away like most other apples. It also has, I think, a buttery flavor. Very good! I will also be making cider for the weekend, so come on out and try some. You still have time to get your favorite apple, but dont wait too long....
With fall approaching, the orchard has become quite busy! The weather this weekend sounds like we could get alittle more rain. but unless its pouring out, we will be open. This weekend we will be picking the last of the Honey Crisp, Sweet Sixteen, which are at there prime right now and McIntosh. The storms that we had on Tuesday night made a mess of things in the orchard, but we should have most of it cleaned up by Saturday. In the end, we lost around 20 trees and I'll bet we picked up 30-40 bushels that were on the ground! Thats Mother Nature for you. Not much you can do, except to move on. One thing about having an orchard is that you are always in a planting mode. Trees die or storms take them out and you replant. Thats just the way it is. At any rate, stop out this weekend if its not raining too bad, pick up a bag of apples and with alittle luck, I'll make some cider also. See you then!
For those of you who have been waiting, the time has arrived. We will be picking Honey Crisp this weekend. We will also be picking Sweet sixteen and the McIntosh are just about ready as well. It looks like the weather could be a factor, but I think we will be alright. The crop of Honey Crisp is about half of what it was last year. If you talk to anyone who grows this apple commercially, they will say the same thing. They can be a difficult apple to grow . This is also the reason why we planted as many varieties as we did in the first place. You will always have good and not as good years. There are literally hundreds of different apples that we can grow here and each one of them is very good. If you have never had a Sweet Sixteen, then try one this weekend and I think you will be surprised. Also, our supply of honey is not going to last much longer. If you want or like good local honey, then dont wait. See you this weekend!
This weekend looks to be a beautiful one and the weather also looks to be great! We will be picking Zestar, Chestnut Crab and maybe some Sweet Sixteen. All 3 of these are excellent apples in there own right and you need to try them to pick your new favorite. For those of you who are wanting Honey Crisp, they are about a week away. And just so you know ahead of time, the crop of Honey Crisp is about half of what it was last year. Other than that, the cider is great and the honey supply is holding out so far although it won't last forever so if you want and like good local honey, then dont wait too long. See you this weekend!