The time has arrived! This weekend, we will start picking Sweet Sixteen and Honey Crisp. We will also have the last of the Zestar and Goodland. The crop of Honey Crisp is about like last years crop. Not huge by any means, but I would call it an average crop. Honey Crisp is a difficult apple to grow and we are the northern edge of growing it. The winters give the trees a real beating. Thats why we planted so many in the first place, because we knew how difficult it was going to be. On the horizon will be Haralred / Haralson and Snow Sweet. They should be ready in a few weeks. McIntosh should be ready by next weekend. This is prime season, so if you like apples, we will have plenty. We will also have cider this weekend and we still have a very good supply of honey. See you this weekend!
Even though fall is not here yet, the feel of it is! These cool nighttime temps will help things along. This weekend we will be picking Zestar and Chestnut Crab. The Zestar this year are outstanding as always. Without a doubt one of my favorites. Its also a warm up to whats on the horizon. Honey Crisp and Sweet Sixteen. I anticipate both will be ready by next weekend. Those will be followed by McIntosh and Snow Sweet in 2-3 weeks. We have a total of 14 different varieties for you to try and the majority of them are ready during the month of September and into early October. This weekend looks like its going to be perfect, weather wise, so come on out and try some cider and a bag of your new favorite apples!
Its time to start picking one of the more popular apples....Zestar. An excellent apple. These are usually bigger than your average apple. They are crunchy and sweet and one of my favorite ones too. We will also be picking Chestnut Crab and the last of the State Fair and also the last of the Hazen. I've said it before, the Chestnut Crab is like a little Honey Crisp. Try one and you'll see what I'm talking about. As the weather begins to cool down, we will get a steady supply of different varieties for you to try. McIntosh, Sweet Sixteen and Honey Crisp are a few weeks out and it looks like we will have plenty of all of them for you to try.
This weekend we will also have Fresh apple cider and honey. Its the last weekend before school starts and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, so come on out and try your new favorite apple! Lexi will be waiting to greet you!
Its State Fair time again and our first up , as it is every year, is State Fair. A very good apple for just about anything. We will also have Chestnut Crab and we might start picking Zestar this weekend. I tried one last night and I think it needs a few more days, so maybe by this weekend, it will be ready. The Chestnut Crab is what I like to call a mini Honey Crisp. Try one and you'll see what I mean. Also, for those of you who have been waiting.....the honey is now extracted and waiting for you! We have alot of people asking about it and its here. The bees were very generous this year again and the taste is excellent. We ran out last year early, so if you want some, dont wait too long.
In the next few weeks we will be picking Zestar, Prairie Magic, Hazen and Chestnut Crab. Sweet Sixteen and Honey Crisp are about 3 weeks or so out yet. And of course, we will have cider too! See you this weekend!
The time has come and the apples are ready! The orchard will be open for the season starting next Saturday, August 18th at 10am. We will be open Saturdays from 10-5 and Sundays from noon-5. In case of rain or other nasty weather, please call or check the website. First up this season, as always is one of my personal favorites, State Fair. This apple is crunchy and tart at the same time. Its great for eating or baking. Its one of the better apples for making applesauce. You can pick this variety if you like. Some varieties we will let you pick and others are pre-picked. After State Fair, the next apples in line will be Zestar and a new variety, Prairie Magic.
Growing apples this far north is always a challenge and this summer was no different. If you will remember, spring was almost a month late and the apple bloom was late as well. Some of the early varieties may not be as big as usual and some will. There is only so much time for them to grow. Time will tell how the later varieties will do. We will have honey in 2 weeks. Thats next on the list of things to do. Heres hoping we have a good fall. See you all next weekend!
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!!