Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lots of Fresh Asparagus for Sale

   We have lots of fresh asparagus for sale, now until late May.  These are nice thick spears, and I snap asparagus off where it breaks easily, so almost the entire spear is tender and usable.  Asparagus is sold harvested for $2.78 per pound + tax.  Phone 620-597-2450 to order asparagus, and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming for it.
  We also still have many apples and pecans for sale.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them.
   The phone rings in the house, and I check for messages when I come in from working in the orchards or sorting apples in the sales building.  When the weather's nice it's especially important to call a day ahead, as I can't always see the driveway from some parts of the fruit plantings, and when I'm working on a tractor I can't hear vehicles come in if you just drop by.
'Natchez' blackberry canes have started blooming, and raspberry plants are blooming also.
   I've been very busy lately pruning apple and pear trees, pruning raspberry and blackberry canes and tying them to the trellis wires, applying herbicides to raspberry and blackberry rows, and picking asparagus twice each day.  Raspberry plants are blooming, as are 'Natchez' and 'Ouachita' blackberry plants, so berry ripening seasons this year should start earlier than average, as shown in the fruit harvest seasons sidebar at left.  Soon we will start thinning the young peaches.
These 'Contender' peaches set a pretty good crop despite frosts during bloom, praise God.  Soon we will start thinning the excess young peaches where several fruit set close together, as in the bottom right of the photo.
   Small amounts of harvested apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of apples costs $23.15 + tax, which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I pack harvested apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag of each of two different varieties of apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We have many harvested 2nds apples, great for baking or for making apple butter.  Usually 90 to 95% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 69% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of harvested 2nds apples costs just  $15.74 + tax ($0.79 per pound + tax), which saves $8.00 off a 20-lb. box of #1 apples.  If you get 40 lbs. of 2nds apples, the price goes down to just $0.74 per pound + tax ($14.82 + tax per 20-lb. box).
   We also still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale.  'Kanza' pecans are known for cracking out almost entirely in intact kernels, and our new high-efficiency pecan cracking machine cracks this variety so well that 2/3 of the shells are removed by the blower.  The price for pecans is $15.28 per bag + tax.  Each bag has the equivalent of 6 pounds of in-shell pecans, and when you pick them out, you get at least 3 pounds of nutmeats.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Asparagus, Apples & Pecans for Sale

    Asparagus harvest has started, and goes until late May.  These are nice thick spears, and I snap asparagus off where it breaks easily, so almost the entire spear is tender and usable.  Asparagus is sold harvested for $2.78 per pound + tax.  Phone 620-597-2450 to order asparagus, and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming to get it.
We have quite a bit of harvested asparagus for sale, now until late May.  Phone a day in advance
to order asparagus.
    We still have a few #1 'Enterprise' apples for sale, and we should have #2 'Enterprise' apples (great for making pies or apple butter) for sale until late April or early May.  'GoldRush' apples keep well in our cooler or a fridge for 9 to 10 months, and we still have a good supply, so we'll probably have 'GoldRush' apples for sale until late May or early June.
These 'Enterprise' apple trees are in beautiful bloom now.
   Our apple orchard is in beautiful bloom now, and is buzzing with bees pollinating the flowers to produce the 2017 apple crop.  Last week I made all this year's controlled crosses for my ongoing apple breeding program, using 'GoldRush', 'Sun Giant' and 'Honeycrisp' as parents this year.
These young 'Sun Giant' apple trees, which Bill grafted 2 years ago, will bear some fruit this year.  'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apple trees bloom in the background.
   This past weekend, my husband Bill grafted my favorite apple selection from my breeding program, 'Sun Giant', onto 24 young rootstocks in pots.  He also topworked a 20-year-old tree in our apple orchard to 'Sun Giant'.

Bill topworked this 20-year-old tree in our apple orchard to 'Sun Giant' yesterday.  The scions (small stem pieces sticking out of each limb) will grow together with the existing tree, and will bear 'Sun Giant' fruit in a few years.
   We still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, now until about June.  Bill cracks more pecans in small batches as the bags of cracked pecans sell, since they store best in-shell.  Once cracked, pecans should be kept in the freezer for long-term storage of up to 3 years, or in the fridge if they'll be used within the next 2 to 3 months.
    Scroll down 3 posts for apple and pecan prices.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name, the day and approximate time you're coming, and which crops you want.  Our phone rings in the house, and I check for messages when I come in from working in the orchards or sorting apples in the sales building.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pear Trees Blooming

   Pear trees are now blooming, and most apple varieties are in the pink bud stage, with some apple varieties blooming.  Praise God, we have not had any more killing frosts in the past 10 days, and no more frosts are forecast for the next 10 days.
Our European pear trees are in full bloom now.
   It looks like we will have a bumper pear crop this year, and a good apple crop as we do almost every year.  We can't tell yet how much of a peach crop we will have this year, but it looks like the crop will be greatly reduced or eliminated on some peach varieties.
Asian pear trees, in foreground with white petals, were in full bloom a few days ago.  'China Pearl' peach trees, in background with pink petals, were still blooming a few days ago, so I'm hopeful that we will have a partial crop on that peach variety.
    During this past week of spring break, our workers came almost every day to help with the huge amount of pruning needed.  They helped prune blackberry plants earlier this week, and pruned apple trees later in the week.
Tre Maxton used pneumatic loppers to remove upper branches from our apple trees, while other workers hand-pruned apple branches.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale.  I started picking asparagus a couple days ago, and started selling it today.  Asparagus is still $2.78 per pound + tax, harvested.  Scroll down two posts for apple and pecan prices.
   Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name, the day and approximate time you're coming, and which crops you want.  Our phone rings in the house, and I check for messages when I come in from working in the orchards or sorting apples in the sales building.  If you wait to call until on your way here, I probably won't get your message before you come.
   I do not have a cell phone or smart phone (cell reception is terrible here), nor is there a phone line to the sales buildingWhen the weather's nice it's especially important to call a day ahead, as I can't always see the driveway from some parts of the fruit plantings, and when I'm working on a tractor I can't hear vehicles come in if you just drop by.   

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Praise God, Still Some Live Peach Buds

   Most of our peach trees were in full bloom when this latest 4-day period of extreme cold started.  Thankfully, some of our peach varieties still had many flowers in the pink bud stage, not yet opened, which protects the pistil (female part of the flower that produces the fruit) from frost damage.  The cold daytime temperatures have been a blessing, as that greatly slows bud development, so most flowers are still in the same stage they were in 4 days ago.
These 'Blazingstar' peach trees, like most of our peach varieties, were in full bloom on Sat. afternoon, just before temperatures dropped to 23 F on Sun. morning, March 12.
   This past Sunday morning, March 12, was predicted to go down to 29 F, but when I checked our thermometer at 7 a.m. (the coldest time of the day), it read 23 F, and my heart sank.  According to tables in my book, Fruit and Nut Production, based on data from several states' Extension Service, 90% fruit bud kill occurs at 26 F when peach trees are in full bloom, so almost all of the pistils in the open blossoms should have been killed.
   As I sat down to read my Bible as I do each morning during breakfast, I opened to Numbers 17, since I'm reading through the entire Bible in 2017 with my church.  I read how each of the 12 tribes of Israel provided to Moses an almond rod, with the tribe's leader's name on it.  Moses put them in the tent of meeting, and God told him that one rod would spout, the rod of the man He chose to lead the priests.  Numbers 17:8 says that not only did Aaron's rod spout, it also had produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.
   Almonds are closely related to peaches; they are in the same genus, Prunus.  When I went out to check the peach orchard on Sunday afternoon, I was amazed to find quite a few live pistils among the open blossoms, and I praise God for that.  We've had two more killing frosts since then, Tues. morning March 14 (27 F) and this morning, March 15 (25 F), but some flowers are still in the pink bud stage, so should be still alive.
The cluster of 'Glowingstar' flowers in front shows at least 4 live pistils among the open blossoms, and some flowers still in the pink bud stage.  If these pistils are not killed by more frosts over the next 3 weeks, this would be enough fruit set for a good peach crop.
   Pear trees are now in the white bud stage, so have not been hurt yet.  We still have over 3 weeks to go before the average date of the last bud-killing spring frost, so please pray with us that we will have a peach crop and a pear crop this year.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them.  Prices are listed in the previous post.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Peach Trees Blooming

   Our peach orchard is in beautiful bloom now.  This morning it got down to 33 F, exactly as predicted, which doesn't hurt the peach blooms at all.  This Sunday morning, March 12, is predicted to go down to 29 F.  We still have over 4 weeks to go before the average date of the last spring frost.
These 'Challenger' peach trees are in beautiful bloom now, unfortunately earlier than usual this year.
   I chose peach varieties that ripen in succession over a 2-month period, have resistance to bacterial spot disease, and require as many chill hours as possible before blooming, so they tend to bloom later.  Thankfully, some of our peach varieties still have many flower buds that have swollen but not yet opened, which protects the pistil (female part of the flower that produces the fruit) from frost damage.
The 'Flameprince' peach tree at left, though our latest-ripening peach variety, requires fewer chill hours so blooms earlier.  'Glowingstar' and 'Blazingstar' peach trees in back have not yet opened as many flowers, and 'Contender' and 'Intrepid' flower buds are thankfully even less advanced.
   Pear flower buds have swollen but not yet opened.  We are praying that we will have a peach crop and a pear crop this year.
   Last week I planted 48 more peach trees, half 'Intrepid' and the rest two new varieties.  These will start to bear about 3 years from now, and continue bearing well until about 15 years from now.  I planted these new trees to replace some trees which have died, especially 'Intrepid', from our original peach orchard, planted in 2002 and now 15 years old.
   This week I'm transplanting more 'Natchez' thornless blackberries.  Last year we took out 2 rows of our latest-ripening blackberry variety, 'Triple Crown', and I herbicided the rows all summer to kill 'Triple Crown' sprouts that kept growing back.  Now we're replanting these rows to our earliest-ripening and largest fruited blackberry variety, 'Natchez'.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them.
   The phone rings in the house, and I check for messages when I come in from working in the orchards or sorting apples in the sales building.  When the weather's nice it's especially important to call a day ahead, as I can't always see the driveway from some parts of the fruit plantings, and when I'm working on a tractor I can't hear vehicles come in if you just drop by.
   Small amounts of harvested apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of apples costs $23.15 + tax, which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I pack harvested apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag of each of two different varieties of apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We have many harvested 2nds apples, great for baking or for making apple butter.  Usually 90 to 95% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 69% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of harvested 2nds apples costs just  $15.74 + tax ($0.79 per pound + tax), which saves $8.00 off a 20-lb. box of #1 apples.  If you get 40 lbs. of 2nds apples, the price goes down to just $0.74 per pound + tax ($14.82 + tax per 20-lb. box).
   We also still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale.  'Kanza' pecans are known for cracking out almost entirely in intact kernels, and our new high-efficiency pecan cracking machine cracks this variety so well that 2/3 of the shells are removed by the blower.  The price for pecans is $15.28 per bag + tax.  Each bag has the equivalent of 6 pounds of in-shell pecans, and when you pick them out, you get at least 3 pounds of nutmeats.