Monday, August 15


 The second variety to come ripe in the orchard, this early season apple took me by surprise.  Unlike many early varieties, I actually enjoyed eating this one.  It has amazing texture for an apple that is ripe in August and the flavor is still very acidic, but also sweet.  If it weren't still in the 80's I could almost be convinced I was eating a Goldrush.
Like its end-of-the-season counterpart, Pristine is also a product of the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois (PRI) cooperative apple breeding program.  It was released for commercial planting in the mid '90s and luckily for me has shown resistance or immunity to Apple Scab, Fireblight, Powdery Mildew and Cedar Apple Rust. 
The other added benefit of this variety is that it has amazing storage properties for an early apple.  Even after days without refrigeration the apples still retained a great texture that varied only slightly from the first one I bit into straight off the tree. 

Monday, August 8

Early Harvest

The first harvest of the season happened this past week at the orchard.  The variety aptly, if not creatively called Early Harvest is similar to Yellow Transparent in size and date of maturity.  The apples are small and only suitable for eating if you appreciate tartness.  I imagine these small early apples would be more suited to pies, sauces or chutneys. 
It was very satifiying to harvest the first apples.  After a spring and summer of hard work, anticipation and a healthy dose of skepticism, it felt very rewarding to see the first fruits of my labor.  This is only the beginning of the season and I am looking forward to all the surprises yet to come.  With so many varieties in the orchard, it is sometimes hard to find any information on a certain cultivar in order to ascertain even an approximate harvest date.  The only logical alternative is to walk the orchard on a regular basis, looking for those trees with a few fallen fruits around their trunk and tasting lots of apples.  My time could certainly be spent in less desirable ways.

Wednesday, August 3

Catching Up

 The summer has flown by and although this blog has been idle since bloom, the orchard has been a bustling place.  Spraying, mowing, thinning and summer pruning have taken up much of my time, while the apples have grown and the plums have ripened.  Rather than spending what feels like precious minutes or hours this time of year, writing about the past several months in the orchard I have put together a photo journal of sorts.  As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so this will by far me my longest post yet! 
Fruit set, the miracle of pollination
Baby Pears

A freshly mowed orchard

"Silver Tree" Good coverage of Kaolin Clay

Almost time to thin

Adolescent Pear.  "They just grow up so fast"
Thinning Time

Infested apples are thinned and  removed from the orchard

Sometimes you just can't pick one

Prune plums

The first plums

So many plums

Summer Bounty

Apples are getting big!

Freedom.   A very prolific variety with beautiful fruit
Showing some blush

Paula Reds.  These will come off the tree within the month

Clapp Pears.  Starting to color up, but they still need a few more months.