We first looked at the peach orchard, which unfortunately has no peaches this year due to -17 F temperatures early last Feb. Our workers were pruning the trees, which need even more summer pruning this year since the vegetative growth is much stronger with no fruit crop. One of our workers, Lucas Epler, was on a similar 4-H tour of Brenda's Berries & Orchards 6 or 7 years ago, and this is now his 4th year of working for us.
|The 4-H group (in back) watched our workers prune peach trees and load prunings on a trailer (foreground) to haul off.|
We then looked at our pear orchard of European pears and Asian pears, and seedling apple trees under evaluation in our apple breeding program. We looked at the thornless blackberries, how they grow, and the damage from last Feb.'s cold to the blackberry crop. The kids then tasted a few of our earliest blackberry variety, 'Natchez', which is just starting to ripen.
|The 4-H group picked lots of purple raspberries.|
Then the 4-H kids and parents picked red raspberries and purple raspberries. Many purple raspberries are ripe now, while the red raspberries are winding down but still have some fruit ripening.