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 still $15.05 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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Early Spring Endangers Peach Crop

   The beautiful weather we've enjoyed for the last week has been nice for pruning our raspberry planting each day, but this early spring is endangering the peach crop.  Our two plumcot trees have started blooming already, on Feb. 23, and peach flower buds have swollen already.  Thankfully, colder weather is predicted for the next few days, which should slow down peach flower bud development.  We still have over 6 weeks to go before the average date of the last spring frost.
Our two plumcot trees have started blooming already, and the open blossoms will likely be killed by a frost early Sat. morning.  Peach flower buds, on trees in background, have swollen.
   A 26 F frost is predicted for early Sat. morning, Feb. 25, which will kill all open blossoms on our two plumcot trees.  More  plumcot flower buds will open over the next couple weeks, but since bloom started this early, it's likely that we'll lose the plumcot crop again this year.  This is why we only have two plumcot trees, since they bloom so early that, in this area where spring frosts are common, we can only expect to have a plumcot crop about 5 years out of every 10 years.
   Thankfully, pear flower buds have not yet swollen.  We are praying that we will have a peach crop and a pear crop this year. 
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale.  Scroll down 3 posts for prices.  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.
Ornamental flowering quince bushes are blooming already also, with the peach orchard in the background.  This is the view from the house, where the phone rings.
   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.  If you wait to call until on your way here, I probably won't get your message before you come.  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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Apples & Pecans Still for Sale

   Beautiful weather is predicted for the next week.  I'll be out pruning raspberries each day, and on Sat. our workers will be here pruning blackberries. 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.
My husband Bill and our son Michael squeezed through this rock crevice on the Elk River Trail.
   Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather, and our son Michael being home on leave from the Navy after 5 months at sea in a submarine, to go hiking.  We hiked part of the Elk River Trail northwest of Independence, KS.  It's a rugged and rewarding trail up rock bluffs and through rock tunnels, with gorgeous views of Elk City Lake.
The Elk River Trail offers gorgeous views of Elk City Lake.
  Tomorrow I'm back to work, pruning raspberries and sorting apples.  'Enterprise' apples keep well in our cooler or a fridge for 6 to 7 months.  We have less of an  'Enterprise' apple crop than last year, so we'll probably sell out of #1  'Enterprise' apples in early March, and have #2  'Enterprise' apples for sale until late March to early April.  'GoldRush' apples keep well in our cooler or a fridge for 8 to 10 months, and we have a good supply, so we'll probably have 'GoldRush' apples for sale until late May or early June.
   We still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, now until about June.  My husband 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 two posts for apple and pecan prices.

Friday, January 13, 2017

'GoldRush' & 'Enterprise' Apples & 'Kanza' Pecans Keep All Winter

   We still have many 'GoldRush' and some 'Enterprise' apples for sale.  These apples taste much better than any sold in grocery stores, and are great for baking as well as fresh eating.  I give taste samples.  Apple prices are listed in the previous blog post.
We still have some #1 'Enterprise' apples (front box), some #1 'Enterprise' + 'GoldRush' apples (middle box), and many #1 'GoldRush' apples (rear box, on scale) for sale.  We also have many #2 apples, great for baking or making applesauce or apple butter.
   'Enterprise' apples keep well in our cooler or a fridge for 6 to 7 months.  We have less of an  'Enterprise' apple crop than last year, so we'll probably sell out of #1  'Enterprise' apples in early Feb., and have #2  'Enterprise' apples for sale until mid- to late March.  'GoldRush' apples keep well in our cooler or a fridge for 8 to 10 months, and we have a good supply, so we'll probably have 'GoldRush' apples for sale until late May or early June.
   We still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, now until about June.  My husband 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.
My husband Bill cracks more pecans in small batches as the bags of cracked pecans sell.  Our new high-efficiency pecan cracking machine cracks 'Kanza' pecans so well that 2/3 of the shells are removed by the blower.
   '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 still $15.05 per bag + tax.  Each bag has the equivalent of 6 pounds of in-shell pecans, and is weighed to 4 pounds after cracking.  When you pick them out, you get at least 3 pounds of nutmeats.
   Many recipes featuring apples and pecans are posted as Notes on our Facebook page, Brendas Berries.
   For payment, we accept cash or checks, but NO credit cards or debit cards.  Please bring your checkbook or enough cash to cover the amount of apples and pecans you'll buy.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31, we're open by appointment, as the sidebar at left says.  That means to 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.
   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.  If you wait to call until on your way here, I probably won't get your message before you come, unless it is very cold and I'm working in the house, as I am now.