Thursday, August 17, 2017

Many 'Luscious' European Pears Ripe Now

   'Luscious' European pears, our earliest pear variety, started ripening a couple weeks early this year. Yesterday morning and this morning our workers Ben Miller, Luke Laws, Tre Maxton and I picked over 600 pounds of  'Luscious' pears, and we're only about halfway through picking the 'Luscious' pear crop.
Yesterday morning and this morning our workers Ben Miller (placing pears in bags), Luke Laws (on ladder, picking pears), Tre Maxton (not in photo) and I picked over 600 pounds of  'Luscious' pears.
   'Luscious' pears live up to their name, and I give taste samples.  They're great for fresh eating, making pies, pear sauce, etc.  We now have over 600 pounds of  'Luscious' European pears in the cooler, ready to sell, all picked yesterday and today.  Pears keep well for 4 to 6 weeks in our cooler or your fridge.  Pear prices are detailed in the previous blog post.
'Luscious' pears live up to their name, and I give taste samples.
   I've also started harvesting a few of our next European pear variety, 'Blake's Pride', but most of these won't be ripe until late August to mid-Sept.  Asian pear harvest will start in late August and continue through late Sept.  'Harrowsweet' European pears should be ripe from mid-late Sept. to mid-Oct.
   We also have a very small amount of a few early apple varieties, and some selections from my apple breeding program, which I harvest and have for sale.  Our pick-your-own apple season will start about Sept. 22 and run until about Nov. 12, as shown on the ripe dates in the sidebar at left.  That's also our main apple season, when we have many harvested apples for sale.
   More red raspberries ripen each day until the first fall freeze in late Oct. or early Nov., so you can often pick a few pints of raspberries if you ask about them.
   We're still open our summer hours through Aug. 31: open 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon Mon.-Sat., closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m., and open 7 p.m. until dark each evening.  Our fall hours (see sidebar at left) will start on Sept. 1.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Some Early Pears, Apples & Fall Red Raspberries Ripe

   Harvest seasons for peaches and thornless blackberries have now ended.  Our workers are now pruning the peach trees, and we hope to finish this job before our workers go back to college and high school next week.  I'm pruning the thornless blackberry and red raspberry plants, which are very big jobs, and our workers will help with that on Saturdays during fall and winter.
Fall-bearing 'Reveille' red raspberries are ripening now until the first fall freeze in late Oct. or early Nov.
   Some 'Reveille' red raspberries are ripening now.  This is our main June-bearing red raspberry variety, and it sets a smaller fall crop each year.  Since the June crop started on May 22 this year, the fall crop started a couple weeks early, in early Aug.  More red raspberries ripen each day until the first fall freeze in late Oct. or early Nov., so you can often pick a few pints of raspberries if you ask about them.  Pick-your-own raspberries cost $2.08 per pint + tax.
These 'Crimson Crisp' trees have fruit ready to harvest in a few days. I just planted these trees 5 years ago, so they only have a few fruit this year.  The 'GoldRush' tree in the background will not start ripening until late Oct.
   Some of our early apple varieties and European pears have started ripening, a couple weeks early this year.  I harvest all the early apple varieties, because fruit must be harvested promptly or they will drop when ripe.  I also harvest all the apple trees from my breeding program, as there's just one tree of each cross, and I take notes on fruit characteristics of each cross.
   I also harvest all the pears.  Pears are tricky to pick, and I harvest most pears from a ladder, which we don't allow customers to use.  I've just started harvesting a few of our earliest European pear varieties, 'Blake's Pride' and 'Luscious'.  Asian pear harvest will start about Sept. 1.
These 'Blake's Pride' European pears are ripening, and I've started harvesting a few of these plus a few 'Luscious' European pears.
    Small amounts of harvested pears and apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of pears or apples (when we have that many) costs $23.15 + tax, which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I harvest pears and apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag of pears and one bag of apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We also have some harvested 2nds pears and 2nds apples, great for baking or for making pear preserves or apple butter.  Usually about 90% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 69% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax.
   Our pick-your-own apple season will start about Sept. 22 and run until about Nov. 12, as shown on the ripe dates in the sidebar at left.  That's also our main apple season, when we have many harvested apples for sale.
   We're still open our summer hours through Aug. 31. We open at 7:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat., we're closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m., and we're open from 7 p.m. until dark each evening.  Our fall hours (see sidebar at left) will start on Sept. 1.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Still Many 'Triple Crown' Blackberries to Pick

   'Triple Crown', our latest-ripening thornless blackberry variety, still has a large amount of ripe fruit now.  It will continue ripening for the next week or so, and the plants will be heavy with fruit through this Sat. Aug. 5 and into next week.  'Triple Crown' blackberries are large, have the smallest seeds and are the juiciest, so they're especially good for making jams and jellies.
We still have many 'Triple Crown' thornless blackberries to pick, now and for the next week or so.
  Thornless blackberries are sold pick-your-own only.  They cost $2.55 per quart + tax, pick-your-own.  There are NO chiggers, and you can pick a quart of blackberries in 5 minutes.  We provide containers, and just ask that you return the containers to us for reuse on your next trip to Brenda's Berries.
Cindy Branton took this photo of her 3 girls, each holding a quart of 'Triple Crown' thornless blackberries that they picked Tuesday morning.
   Our peach season is finishing up now, since this year it started almost 3 weeks earlier than the average start date for peaches.  We're still harvesting 'Carolina Gold' yellow peaches, and will have some of these for sale through this Sat. Aug. 5.  We've now finished harvesting 'China Pearl' white peaches, and these have sold.  Peach prices are detailed in the previous post (scroll down).
   A few 'Reveille' red raspberries are also ripening now.  This is our main June-bearing red raspberry variety, and it sets a smaller fall crop each year.  Since the June crop started on May 22 this year, the fall crop is starting a couple weeks early, in early Aug.  More red raspberries ripen each day, so those who come to pick blackberries can often also pick a few pints of raspberries if you ask about them.  Pick-your-own raspberries cost $2.08 per pint + tax.
The fall crop of 'Reveille' red raspberries are also ripening now.
   We're still open our summer hours (see sidebar at left) through Aug. 31. We open at 7:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. for berry pickers, but those who want only peaches should arrive after 9 a.m. to give our workers time to pick the peaches.  We're closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.  We're open 7-9 p.m. each evening, but call 620-597-2450 in the afternoon to be sure we'll have peaches that evening.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blackberry & Peach Seasons Winding Down

   We still have many thornless blackberries to pick, for the next 10 days or so.  'Apache' plants still have many very large berries, and 'Ouachita' plants still have many medium-large berries.
'Triple Crown' blackberry plants have many large, ripe fruit ready to pick now, plus still have many red berries that will ripen for the next 2 weeks.
   'Triple Crown', our latest-ripening blackberry variety, still has a large amount of ripe fruit now.  It will continue ripening for the next 2 weeks, and the plants will be heavy with fruit until about Aug. 5.  'Triple Crown' blackberries are large, have the smallest seeds and are the juiciest, so they're especially good for making jams and jellies.
'Triple Crown' blackberries are large, have the smallest seeds and are the juiciest, and I think they have the best flavor of our 4 blackberry varieties.
   Thornless blackberries are sold pick-your-own only.  They cost $2.55 per quart + tax, pick-your-own.  There are NO chiggers, and you can pick a quart of blackberries in 5 minutes.  We provide containers, and just ask that you return the containers to us for reuse on your next trip to Brenda's Berries.
   Weekday mornings are great times to come for those able to do so.  Come early to beat the heat.  We open at 7:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. for berry pickers, but those who want only peaches should arrive after 9 a.m. to give our workers time to pick the peaches.  We're closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.  We're open 7-9 p.m. each evening, but call 620-597-2450 in the afternoon to be sure we'll have peaches that evening.
   Our peach season is winding down now, since this year it started almost 3 weeks earlier than the average start date for peaches.  We're now harvesting 'Carolina Gold' yellow peaches and 'China Pearl' white peaches, and these will continue until about Aug. 5.  These are our last main peach varieties, and the trees are producing less than our mid-season peach varieties did, because these late-ripening peach varieties were hurt more by the March freezes.  Since there are fewer peaches on the trees, the peaches of these varieties are very large.
We're now harvesting 'Carolina Gold' yellow peaches (left box) and 'China Pearl' white peaches (right box), our last main peach varieties.  We'll have these for sale in limited quantities until about Aug. 5.
   Both these peach varieties are freestone, and I give taste samples.  Small amounts of peaches cost $1.30 per pound + tax.  We pick directly into 20-lb. boxes, which I then weigh to exactly 20.0 lbs., so you save $1.00 if you buy a 20-lb. box of peaches for $25.00 + tax (when we have them).  We also usually have some nice 2nds peaches with small hail-damaged spots or other surface damage, which sell for just $0.74 per pound + tax.
    Peaches are sold harvested; we do not allow customers to pick peaches.  Our trained workers harvest peaches each morning Mon.-Sat. when it's not raining.  Some days fewer peaches are ripe, and we may sell out by late morning or early evening.  We often have no peaches to sell on Sun. evening, since our workers do not pick peaches on Sun. morning as we're closed for church.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Still Many Blackberries & Peaches Ripening

   All 4 of our thornless blackberry varieties still have many ripe berries to pick now.  'Natchez' produces huge blackberries, very popular especially for making cobblers, and they will continue ripening for the next week or so.  'Apache' berries are almost as big and are also great for making cobblers, and are loaded with ripe fruit now and for the next 10 days to 2 weeks.

Three members of the Rather family, including Gail (left) and Jace (right), picked 18 quarts of 'Apache' thornless blackberries in 30 minutes a couple days ago.
   'Ouachita' blackberries are also ripe now and for the next 10 days to 2 weeks.  'Ouachita' berries are medium-sized with great flavor, especially good in pies and in fruit salads where a larger blackberry would be too big for the other fruits in the salad.  'Triple Crown' blackberries are large, have the smallest seeds and are the juiciest, so they're especially good for making jams and jellies.  'Triple Crown' is our latest-ripening blackberry variety.  There's a good amount ripe now, and they will continue ripening for the next 3 weeks, and they'll be heavy with fruit until about Aug. 5.
   Thornless blackberries are sold pick-your-own only.  They cost $2.55 per quart + tax, pick-your-own.  There are NO chiggers, and you can pick a quart of blackberries in 5 minutes.  We provide containers, and just ask that you return the containers to us for reuse on your next trip to Brenda's Berries.
   Weekday mornings are great times to come for those able to do so.  Come early to beat the heat.  We open at 7:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. for berry pickers, but those who want only peaches should arrive after 9 a.m. to give our workers time to pick the peaches.  We're closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.  We're open 7-9 p.m. each evening, but call 620-597-2450 in the afternoon to be sure we'll have peaches that evening.
    Peaches are sold harvested; we do not allow customers to pick peaches.  Our trained workers harvest peaches each morning Mon.-Sat. when it's not raining.  Some days fewer peaches are ripe, and we may sell out by late morning or early evening.  We often have no peaches to sell on Sun. evening, since our workers do not pick peaches on Sun. morning as we're closed for church.
We're now harvesting many 'Glowingstar' yellow peaches, and we'll continue harvesting them for another week.
   We grow 17 different peach varieties that provide a succession of ripening over 2 months.  Each variety ripens over a 10-day to 2-week period.  We're now harvesting mostly 'Glowingstar' yellow peaches, and we'll continue harvesting them for another week.  We should start harvesting 'Carolina Gold' yellow peaches and 'China Pearl' white peaches early next week, and those will continue for about 2 weeks, until about Aug. 5.  Peach season will end almost 3 weeks earlier than the average date this year, since it started almost 3 weeks earlier than the average date.
   I give taste samples of the varieties ripe at each time.  All these peaches are freestone.  Small amounts of peaches cost $1.30 per pound + tax.  We pick directly into 20-lb. boxes, which I then weigh to exactly 20.0 lbs., so you save $1.00 if you buy a 20-lb. box of peaches for $25.00 + tax (when we have them).  We also usually have some nice 2nds peaches with small hail-damaged spots or other surface damage, which sell for just $0.74 per pound + tax.
   Have your vehicle cleaned out so there's room to put trays of berries and peach boxes or bags.  These fruits travel best in open trays, where they receive air conditioning from the vehicle, not in a car trunk or in an ice chest, so don't take up room in the vehicle with an ice chest.  We keep our cooler at 50 F, ideal for peaches, as they can get chilling injury at temperatures below 50 F or if put directly on ice.  Once you get them home, both blackberries and peaches keep well for 10 days in a refrigerator.