Thursday, October 14

Apple Picking Day 31: Shorter Days and Cold Nights

Ida Red
The nights have been getting colder, bringing out the reds and yellows in the maples, making some of them almost neon.  Frost is still to come here in the Ithaca Valley, but up at the orchard the grass was coated in the first frost of the season this morning, creating a shimmering silver blanket as the long rays of the early morning sun brushed across it.  The Golden Delicious were cold to the touch this morning, making the hands partially numb for the first hour of picking.   By mid-morning the sweater was peeled off and my lunch I was in a t-shirt, welcoming the rays of what I might consider an almost perfect October day.   
Golden Delicious
After a morning in the Golden Delicious, we moved into the two rows of Ida Red.  They were big and easy to see compared to the Golden Delicious and Mutsu which have a habit of hiding in the thick foliage.  Picking the Idas always marks a turn toward the end of the season.  With only a week or a little more of picking left, the orchard is beginning to look bare.
 We finished the Mutsu yesterday, picking the last of the softball size fruit felt like a bit of a letdown, but there was also a satisfying sense of accomplishment as we enter the last push to get in the the harvest before it falls off the trees.  Although many are on the ground, there is still a good number of empires left on the trees, probably most of a days work.  There are still more Golden Delicious, Fuji, Rome and of course Gold Rush left to pick as well. 
Roxbury Russet
Northern Spy
The Northern Spy where picked at the end of last week a long with all but a smattering of Jonagolds.  Fortunes also came in off the trees as did a few of the heirloom varieties including the Roxbury Russet.
 This is the kind of fall weather I like, the late afternoons are cool, the mornings chilly and the colors of the maples are absolutely exquisite.  Each apple that falls to the ground or is placed in my picking bucket is a reminder of the fleeting nature of the season.  I begin to find a comfort in the sight of a tree that still has apples on it, but I also have an all to keen awareness that this harvest season, like all others will end.  What a wonderful reason to enjoy every day that is left. 
View from the Mutsu

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