Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pruning Young & Older Apple Trees

   Whenever the weather is warm enough in February, I'm out pruning apple trees.  This past Saturday was perfect pruning weather, so our worker Ben Miller and I started lowering our 13-year-old 'Enterprise' apple trees with pneumatic pole loppers.
Ben Miller (pictured) and I started lowering our 'Enterprise' apple trees with pneumatic pole loppers, powered by the blue air compressor on the tractor at left.   The apple tree to the right of Ben was pruned already; we're lowering the 13-year-old trees by 3 to 4 feet.
   Pruning of young trees goes much faster, and requires only hand pruners and hand loppers.  I prune young apple trees to a central leader, and remove narrrow-angled branches and branches that are too dense or cross other branches.  I also remove branches arising too low or high on the trunk.  Then I head back the central leader and the remaining side branches.
This 2-year-old apple tree, before pruning, is too tall and has some narrrow-angled branches and branches that are too dense or cross other branches.
The same tree after pruning has excess branches removed, and the central leader and the remaining side branches headed back.

  We still have many harvested 'GoldRush' apples, both #1's and #2's, for sale for the next 3 months or so.  We also have some #1 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples for sale for the next month or so (until they sell out).  We've now sold out of #1 'Enterprise' apples and have almost sold out of #2 'Enterprise' apples.  Harvested apples are kept in top condition in our cooler, which is now down to about 45% full with 2000 pounds of apples.  We also have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale for the next 2 months or so.  Scroll down 2 posts for prices.
Our #2 'GoldRush' apples, and the few remaining #2 'Enterprise' apples, are great in salads such as this Apple Cherry Pecan Salad that I made for a church dinner last Friday.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so call 620-597-2450 (which rings in the house) a day or so ahead (or at least a few hours ahead), and leave a message saying when you're coming to get apples and/or pecans.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining or snowing and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dormant Pruning & Propagating Apple Trees

   We've taken advantage of the nice weather the past few days to start dormant pruning of our apple orchard, which is a big job each winter.  Our workers Brandon Ledford and Ben Miller came Saturday afternoon to help prune apple trees.
Ben Miller (left) and Brandon Ledford (right) used hand loppers to thin out overly dense branches in 'Enterprise' apple trees.
   We used hand loppers and hand pruners to thin out overly dense branches, prune back fruiting branches that droop too low, and prune back long limbs that are spreading too far into the aisles.  Later we'll use pneumatic pole pruners to keep trees lower by pruning back upper branches.
Bill used pole pruners to cut scionwood from the upper branches of a selection from my apple breeding program, so he can propagate this selection.
   Bill cut scionwood of 7 selections from my apple breeding program that I named this past fall.  This spring, he'll graft the scions onto rootstocks in our apple orchard, so in a few years we'll have more trees producing these new apple selections.

Bill cut the scionwood of 'Sun Giant' and other apple selections into 6- to 8-inch pieces, then stores scions of each apple selection in a plastic bag in the fridge until spring, when he'll graft the scions onto rootstocks in our apple orchard.
   We'll have apples for sale for the next 4 months or so, and pecans for sale for the next 2 months or so.  Prices are listed in the previous post.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so call 620-597-2450 (which rings in the house) or e-mail a day or so in advance, and leave a message saying when you're coming to get apples and/or pecans.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining or snowing and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Sale on #2 Apples

  We still have many harvested 'GoldRush' apples, both #1's and #2's, for sale now and for the next 4 to 5 months.  #1 (practically perfect) 'GoldRush' apples keep well for 8 to 10 months in a refrigerator, and get sweeter as the starches convert into sugars.  Fully-ripened 'GoldRush' apples have a taste similar to 'Honeycrisp', and 'GoldRush' is my favorite apple for fresh eating.  #2 'GoldRush' apples (with small cracks) are wonderful for salads, apple slices, baking, applesauce, apple butter, etc.
   We also have some #1 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples for sale for the next couple months (until they sell out).  'Scarlett O'Hara' apples are sweet-tart, with a strong unique flavor that some customers love, and keep well for about 4 months in a refrigerator.  We sold out of #1 'Enterprise' apples but have many #2 'Enterprise' apples.  'Enterprise' apples are sweet-tart, great for both fresh eating and baking, and are a favorite of many customers.  Harvested apples are kept in top condition in our cooler, which now holds about 3000 pounds of apples.
   #2 apple prices are now $1.00 less for each 20 lbs. than last fall.  Smaller amounts of harvested #2 apples are still $0.83 per pound + tax, but 20 lbs. #2's are now just $14.86 + tax ($0.74 per pound), and 40 lbs. #2's are just $27.87 + tax ($0.70 per pound).  You can also get the 40-lb. discount by buying 20 lbs. #1's ($22.29 + tax = $1.11 per pound) and 20 lbs. #2's ($13.93 + tax = $0.70 per pound).  Harvested #1 apples are still $1.21 per pound + tax, 20 lbs. #1's are still $23.22 + tax ($1.16 per pound), and 40 lbs. #1's are still $44.59 + tax ($1.11 per pound).
#2 apples like these, with small cracks or other surface damage, are now $1.00 less for each 20 lbs. than last fall.  They're great for salads, apple slices, baking, applesauce, apple butter, etc.
     Fresh apples have many health benefits.  They're high in calcium, good for building bones and teeth, and help prevent bone loss and tooth decay when eaten regularly.  Apples are high in fiber, crunchy, and satisfy your sweet tooth, yet are low in calories.  Fresh apples fill you up without causing weight gain, and can help you lose weight if you eat fresh apples instead of fattening foods.  Eating apples regularly also helps prevent colon cancer, some other cancers and some digestive problems.  There is truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
    Pecans are also beneficial, as they are high in omega-3 oils that can help prevent heart disease, some cancers, and Alzheimer's disease.  We still have 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, for $14.86 + tax per bag.  'Kanza' is a larger pecan variety, with excellent flavor.  Our Facebook page, Brendas Berries, has many recipes posted as Notes that feature apples and pecans.

Our 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans contain the equivalent of 6 lbs. of in-shell pecans, since after cracking them, Bill blows off excess shells before he weighs the bags.  They're easy to pick out and you get at least 3 lbs. of nutmeats from a 5-lb. bag of cracked 'Kanza' pecans.
   We also have Bill's homemade jams and fruit butters for sale, all made from fruit we grow.  He uses low-sugar pectin, so our fruit products are made with more fruit and less sugar.  They cost $5.57 + tax per pint jar, and if you return the clean, empty jar to us after finishing the jam, you get $0.50 off your next jar of jam.
   We'll have apples and pecans for sale for the next 5 months, and from Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment.  Call 620-597-2450 (which rings in the house) or e-mail a day or so in advance, and leave a message saying when you're coming to get apples and/or pecans.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining or snowing and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Apples, Pecans & Jam Make Great Christmas Gifts

   We still have many harvested 'GoldRush' apples for sale now and for the next 5 months or so.  'GoldRush' apples keep well for 8 to 10 months in a refrigerator, and get sweeter as the starches convert into sugars.  Fully-ripened 'GoldRush' apples have a taste similar to 'Honeycrisp', and 'GoldRush' is my favorite apple for fresh eating.  They're also wonderful for baking, making applesauce or apple butter, etc.
We still have many 'GoldRush' apples (front box) for sale, and many 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples (2nd box).  We still have a few #1 'Enterprise' apples (3rd box) and many #2 'Enterprise' and #2 'GoldRush' apples. 
   We also have many harvested 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples for sale for the next couple months (until they sell out).  'Scarlett O'Hara' apples are sweet-tart, with a strong unique flavor that some customers love, and keep well for about 4 months in a refrigerator.  We still have a few #1 'Enterprise' apples and many #2 'Enterprise' apples.  'Enterprise' apples are sweet-tart, great for both fresh eating and baking, and are a favorite of many customers.  Our #2 apples are great for economical holiday baking or making apple butter for Christmas gifts.
   Harvested apples are kept in top condition in our cooler, which now holds about 3500 pounds of apples.  We also still have a few bags each of a few selections from my apple breeding program.  I give taste samples of all of our apple varieties and selections, to those interested in buying them.  Apple prices are detailed in the previous post.
   Bill is now very busy harvesting, cleaning and cracking pecans.  We now have 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, for $14.86 + tax per bag.  'Kanza' is a larger pecan variety, with excellent flavor.  Our Facebook page, Brendas Berries, has many recipes posted as Notes that feature apples and pecans.
This morning for breakfast I had 3 kinds of Bill's homemade jams and fruit butters on raisin bread toast.  Clockwise from top are sandhill plum jam, apple butter and red raspberry jam.
   We also have Bill's homemade jams and fruit butters for sale, all made from fruit we grow.  He uses low-sugar pectin, so our fruit products are made with more fruit and less sugar.  These make good Christmas gifts, for those who don't have the time or inclination to make their own jams or apple butter.  They cost $5.57 + tax per pint jar, and if you return the clean, empty jar to us after finishing the jam, you get $0.50 off your next jar of jam.
We now have 16 kinds of Bill's homemade jams and fruit butters for sale, all made from fruit we grow.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, as the sidebar at left shows, so phone 620-597-2450 a day ahead (or at least a few hours ahead) and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming.  (I don't need to call you back; I am here.  Don't wait to call until you get here, as I'm often out working on the farm and the phone rings in the house.)  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining or snowing and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.
   Have a joyful Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Many 'GoldRush' & 'Scarlett O'Hara' Apples & Pecans for Sale

    We have many harvested 'GoldRush' apples for sale, both #1's and #2's, now and for the next 6 to 7 months.  'GoldRush' apples keep well for 8 to 10 months in a refrigerator, and are best after at least 1 month in the fridge, as they get sweeter as the starches convert into sugars.  Fully-ripened 'GoldRush' apples have a taste similar to 'Honeycrisp', and 'GoldRush' is my favorite apple for fresh eating.  They're also wonderful for baking, making applesauce or apple butter, etc.
   We also still have many harvested #1 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples for sale for the next couple months (until they sell out).  'Scarlett O'Hara' apples are sweet-tart, with a strong unique flavor that some customers love, and keep well for 3 to 4 months in a refrigerator.
We have many harvested 'GoldRush' apples (front box) and 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples (2nd box) for sale.  We still have a couple boxes of #1 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples (3rd box), and many #2 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples.
   The 'Enterprise' apple crop was reduced this year by the April 15 freeze.  I delivered 100 lbs. of #1 'Enterprise' apples to Bartlett and Chetopa Schools yesterday, and customers have been buying many #1 'Enterprise', so we're getting low on those.  We still have a small amount of #1 'Enterprise' apples and many #2 'Enterprise' apples.  'Enterprise' apples are sweet-tart, great for both fresh eating and baking, stay crisp and juicy for 6 to 8 months in a refrigerator, and are a favorite of many customers.
   Prices are the same as last year: $1.21 per pound + tax for small amounts of harvested #1 apples (practically perfect) and $0.83 per pound + tax for small amounts of harvested #2 apples (with small cracks or other surface damage).  A box of 20 lbs. of harvested #1 apples costs $23.22 + tax, which saves $1.00.  A box of 20 lbs. of harvested #2 apples, great for economical holiday baking, costs $15.79 + tax, which also saves $1.00.  Buying 40 lb. of harvested apples (2 boxes) saves another $1.00 per box, for a total of $4.00 off the per-pound price.
   Harvested apples are kept in top condition in our cooler, which is now full of 4000 pounds of apples.  We also still have a few bags each of many selections from my apple breeding program.  I give taste samples of all of our apple varieties and selections, to those interested in buying them.
   Bill is now very busy harvesting, cleaning and cracking pecans.  We now have 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, for $14.86 + tax per bag.  'Kanza' is a larger pecan variety, with excellent flavor.  Our Facebook page, Brendas Berries, has many recipes posted as Notes that feature apples and pecans.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so phone 620-597-2450 a day or so ahead and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.
Phone 620-597-2450 a day or so ahead and leave a message on the answering machine saying the day and approximate time you'll be coming.