Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Many 'Enterprise', Some 'GoldRush' Apples Ripe Now

   Many 'Enterprise' apples, our main pick-your-own apple variety, are ripe now, and more will ripen over the next 2 weeks.  Many customers have been picking 'Enterprise' apples, but the trees are still loaded with fruit.  We also have many harvested 'Enterprise' apples for sale now, as my workers and I have harvested a lot.  'Enterprise' apples keep well in our cooler or your refrigerator for 6 to 7 months, so we'll have them for sale for the next 6 months or so, until late April or early May.
We still have many 'Enterprise' apples for pick-your-own customers, plus many harvested 'Enterprise' apples for sale now.
   We also have a few 'Sundance' apples, available pick-your-own or harvested.  'GoldRush' apples have just started ripening, and I've harvested a few boxes of 'GoldRush' for sale.  Customers can pick their own 'GoldRush' apples from Oct. 20 to Nov. 12.  'GoldRush' apples keep well in our cooler or your refrigerator for 8 to 10 months, so we'll have them for sale for the next 8 months or so, until late June.
I've harvested a few mixed boxes of 'Enterprise' (red apples at left) and 'GoldRush' (yellow apples at right) for sale.  This box sold shortly after I took this photo, but I picked a couple more boxes this afternoon.
   'GoldRush' is a real storage apple, and does not reach its peak flavor until at least one month in cold storage.  If eaten right after they were harvested, 'GoldRush' apples may still be tart and starchy.  While stored in our cooler or your refrigerator, starches convert into sugars, so 'GoldRush' apples get sweeter, and are my favorite apple to eat from Dec. to July.  Other apple varieties do not get sweeter during cold storage.
'GoldRush' apples have just started ripening.  Customers can pick their own 'GoldRush' apples from Oct. 20 to Nov. 12.
   We use plastic grocery sacks in different colors for pick-your-own apples, and appreciate it if customers can bring some clean, non-ripped, used bags.  I have plenty of white bags, but am very low on brown, yellow, gray and blue bags, so need those.  Reusing is better for the environment than recycling.  Please also bring back any peach boxes or berry containers you got from previous visits to Brenda's Berries & Orchards, so we can reuse them.  Thanks. 
   We finished harvesting 'Harrowsweet' European pears 2 weeks ago, and we now have six 20-pound boxes for sale, until we sell out.  This pear variety lives up to its name: it's very sweet.  We also still have a few boxes of 'Luscious' European pears for sale for the next few days.
   Prices for apples and pears are detailed in the Sept. 27 blog post (scroll down).
   We're now open our fall hours, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  I'm usually out harvesting apples, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and come to the sales building.
   We're expecting a very good crop of pecans this year.  Many people have been asking when we'll have cracked pecans for sale.  Pecan harvest starts about the same time every year, in early Nov., after we have a hard freeze that advances opening of the shucks.  Once pecan harvest starts, the pecans have to be dried, then cleaned and cracked for sale.  We hope to have cracked pecans for sale starting about Nov. 14, as stated in the Fruit Harvest Seasons sidebar at left, and we should have them for sale until late June, when we sell out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Many Pick-Your-Own & Harvested Apples Now

   Our pick-your-own apple season is going strong now, and runs until about Nov. 12.  This also our main apple season, when we have many harvested apples for sale.
The Martin family from Parsons, KS had fun picking their own 'Enterprise' apples this morning.
   Many 'Enterprise' apples, our main pick-your-own apple variety, are ripe now, and more will ripen over the next 3 weeks.  We also have a few 'Sundance' apples and Coop 27 apples available pick-your-own or harvested.  'GoldRush' apples will ripen from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov.
I harvest some mixed boxes of apples, such as Coop 27 apples (red apples on left) and 'Sundance' apples (yellow apples on right), which some customers love.  I give taste samples.
   We use plastic grocery sacks in different colors for pick-your-own apples, and appreciate it if customers can bring some clean, non-ripped, used bags.  I have plenty of white bags, but am very low on brown, yellow, gray and blue bags, so need those.  Reusing is better for the environment than recycling.  Please also bring back any peach boxes or berry containers you got from previous visits to Brenda's Berries & Orchards, so we can reuse them.  Thanks. 
   We finished harvesting 'Harrowsweet' European pears 3 days ago, and we now have 14 20-pound boxes for sale, until we sell out.  This pear variety lives up to its name: it's very sweet.  We also still have some 'Luscious' European pears in our cooler, ready to sell, for the next week or so.
   I finished harvesting 'Shinko' Asian pears 4 weeks ago, and we now have four 20-pound boxes for sale, until we sell out.  Asian pears are shaped like apples, stay crisp like apples, and are very juicy and sweet.  They're mostly for fresh eating, though some customers make Asian pears preserves.
   We also have a few fall red raspberries now, sold pick-your-own only.  More fall red raspberries ripen each day until the first fall freeze in mid-late Oct., so you can often pick a few pints of raspberries if you ask about them.
   Prices for apples, pears and raspberries are detailed in the previous blog post (scroll down).
   We're now open our fall hours, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  I'm usually out harvesting apples, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and come to the sales building.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pick-Your-Own Apple Season Has Started

   Our pick-your-own apple season started on Sept. 22, the first official day of fall, and runs until about Nov. 12.  This is also our main apple season, when we have many harvested apples for sale.
Some 'Enterprise' apples are ripe now, and more will ripen over the next 6 weeks.
   Some 'Enterprise' apples, our main pick-your-own apple variety, are ripe now, and more will ripen over the next 6 weeks.  We also have a few 'Sundance' apples available pick-your-own.  'GoldRush' apples will ripen from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov.
   All 3 of these apple varieties originated from a cooperative apple breeding program between Univ. of Illinois, Purdue Univ. and Rutgers Univ. that began in 1945.  We also have one tree of another selection from this cooperative apple breeding program, Coop 27, which is not yet named.
   All our apple varieties are immune to apple scab disease, so we don't have to spray for that disease, so we can put on 1/3 fewer fungicide sprays than if we grew scab-susceptible apple varieties such as 'Jonathan' or 'Golden Delicious'.  I give taste samples of all our apple varieties available at the time.
   We're still harvesting some 'Harrowsweet' European pears, and we have 22 20-pound boxes for sale now.  This pear variety lives up to its name: it's very sweet.  We should have 'Harrowsweet' for sale until early Oct.  We also still have many 'Luscious' European pears in our cooler, ready to sell, for the next 2 weeks or so.
   I finished harvesting 'Shinko' Asian pears 2 weeks ago, and we have ten 20-pound boxes for sale now, until we sell out.  Asian pears are shaped like apples, stay crisp like apples, and are very juicy and sweet.  They're mostly for fresh eating, though some customers make Asian pears preserves.
   I give taste samples.  Many who didn't like pears, before tasting ours, love these varieties.
   Small amounts of harvested pears and apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of pears or apples 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 usually have some harvested 2nds apples, with small cracks or hail damage, great for baking or for making applesauce or apple butter.  Usually 90% to 98% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 62% to 69% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax for less than 20 pounds, $0.79 per pound + tax for 20 pounds, and $0.74 per pound + tax for 40 pounds of harvested 2nds apples. 
The Wright family and friends from Joplin had fun picking their own 'Enterprise' apples last Sat. morning.
    Smaller amounts of pick-your-own apples are $0.93 per pound + tax for #1's and $0.69 per pound + tax for #2's (2nds).  For 40 lbs. or more total of #1 and #2 pick-your-own apples, the price goes down to $0.88 per pound + tax for #1's and $0.65 per pound + tax for #2's.  Weekdays are good uncrowded times to pick apples, for those who are able to come then.
   We're now open our fall hours, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  I'm usually out harvesting pears or apples, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and come to the sales building.
   Please remember, since there is no phone line to the sales building, we do not have a card reader.  So we can NOT accept credit cards or debit cards for payment.  We accept cash and checks from any state, so please bring your checkbook or enough cash to cover the amount of food you want to buy.  Thanks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Many Pears & Some Early Apples Ripe Now

   We finished harvesting 'Blake's Pride' European pears last week, and we have 10 20-pound boxes for sale now, until we sell out.  This pear variety gets huge, and has a fine-grained texture and a smooth, buttery taste.  They're great for fresh eating, baking, and canning.
   We still have many 'Luscious' European pears in our cooler, ready to sell.  We now have Bill's homemade pear butter for sale again, freshly made from 'Luscious' European pears, which are especially good for making pear butter.
   We just started harvesting 'Harrowsweet' European pears, and we have 17 20-pound boxes for sale now.  This pear variety lives up to its name: it's very sweet. We'll keep harvesting 'Harrowsweet' for the next couple weeks, so we should have 'Harrowsweet' for sale until early Oct.
We have a good amount of 'Harrowsweet' European pears for sale, now until early Oct.
   I've finished harvesting 'Shinko' Asian pears now.  Asian pears are shaped like apples, stay crisp like apples, and are very juicy and sweet.  They're mostly for fresh eating.  We have 18 20-pound boxes for sale now, until we sell out.
   I give taste samples.  Many who didn't like pears before tasting ours love these varieties.
   We have small amounts 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.  That's also our main apple season, when we'll have many harvested apples for sale.
   All our apple varieties are immune to apple scab disease, so we don't have to spray for that disease, so we can put on 1/3 fewer fungicide sprays than if we grew scab-susceptible apple varieties such as 'Jonathan' or 'Golden Delicious'.  I give taste samples of the apple varieties that are ripe at the time.
   I also have my own apple breeding program, which uses apple varieties immune to apple scab disease as parents.  Since the gene for scab immunity is dominant, all offspring from these crosses will be immune to apple scab.
   Developing new apple varieties is a long process, which takes 15 to 20 years.  First I select parents that might make a good combination for producing apple seedlings that bear large, tasty fruit with resistance to other diseases and insects.  During apple bloom in early April, I remove anthers, petals and sepals from the flowers that I will hand-pollinate, so they do not get pollinated by bees with other pollen.  I dry the anthers which contain pollen, and use a paintbrush to apply pollen from the male parent to the pistils of the female parent.
   At harvest, I can tell the apples that I hand-pollinated since they have no sepals, so I save those fruits, extract the seeds, and stratify the seeds over winter in moist vermiculite in a refrigerator.  I plant the seeds in pots, a year after I made the cross, and grow the seedlings in pots until fall, when I plant the seedlings in the field.  Then I wait 8 or 9 years until the seedling trees start to bear fruit that I can evaluate.  We eliminate any trees that are susceptible to fire blight, and after the trees fruit, we eliminate any trees with fruit that is too small or susceptible to apple blotch, cracking or other fruit problems.  Of the hundreds of apple seedling trees from controlled crossed that I've planted over the past 15 years, over 90% have been or will be cut down because they aren't worthy of further testing.
   I have selected several dozen seedlings for further testing, and have named 18 apple selections so far.  I harvest all the apple trees from my breeding program, as there's just one tree of each cross, and I take notes on fruit traits of each cross.  We offer harvested apples of these apple selections for sale.
Yesterday I harvested a selection from my apple breeding program, a cross of 'Jonafree' and 'Sundance', that I named 'Jonasun'.
   We also have fall red raspberries now, sold pick-your-own only.  More fall red raspberries ripen each day until the first fall freeze in mid- to late Oct., so you can often pick a few pints of raspberries if you ask about them.
   Prices for apples, pears and raspberries are detailed in the previous blog post (scroll down).
   We're now open our fall hours, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  I'm usually out harvesting pears or apples, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and come to the sales building.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Many Pears & Asian Pears for Sale

   I've harvested lots of 'Blake's Pride' European pears over the past 10 days, so we have many for sale now.  This pear variety gets huge, and has a fine-grained texture and a smooth, buttery taste.  They're great for fresh eating, baking, and canning.  More will ripen until about mid-Sept.
   'Shinko' Asian pear harvest is now about 80% complete, as they've ripened fast over the past 5 days.  Asian pears are shaped like apples, stay crisp like apples, and are very juicy and sweet.  They're mostly for fresh eating.  Many people bought Asian pears last weekend, but we still have many boxes for sale now, and we'll have them until we sell out.
Today I harvested more 'Blake's Pride' European pears (in green box at right) and 'Shinko' Asian pears (in blue boxes at left), and we have many for sale. 
  We still have many 'Luscious' European pears in our cooler also, ready to sell.  We also now have Bill's homemade pear butter for sale again, freshly made last weekend from 'Luscious' European pears, which are especially good for making pear butter.  'Harrowsweet' European pears should be ripe from mid-Sept. to early Oct.
   We also have a small amount of a few early apple varieties, and some selections from my apple breeding program, which I harvest and have for sale.  I give taste samples.  Our pick-your-own apple season will start about Sept. 22 and run until about Nov. 12.  That's also our main apple season, when we'll have many harvested apples for sale.
       Small amounts of harvested pears and apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of pears or apples 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.
More fall red raspberries ripen each day, and there are many to pick on weekdays.
   We also have some fall red raspberries now, sold pick-your-own only.  More fall 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.  Raspberries often get picked out on Saturdays, but there are many to pick on weekdays, especially if you phone 620-597-2450 a day ahead and let me know when you're coming to pick them.  Otherwise I may pick them for my own use, since raspberries need to be picked at least every 2 days.  Pick-your-own raspberries cost $2.08 per pint + tax.
Our fall hours run from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30.
   Our fall hours, as shown in the sidebar at left, start tomorrow, on Sept. 1, and run through Nov. 30.  Please note that we open at 9 a.m. now, later than our fall hours in prior years.  This will give me time to get much-needed orchard work done before customers start arriving, and some early mornings I deliver fruit to schools.  We're now closing at 5:30 p.m., which will make it easier for me to attend Sun. evening and mid-week evening church services.  We're still open 55.5 hours per week in fall.
   We're open our regular fall hours over Labor Day weekend.
   I'm usually out harvesting pears, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and drive the utility vehicle in to the sales building.