Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winterizing Strawberries, & Many Apples for Winter

  For the past several days I've been transplanting strawberries from the aisles to fill in gaps in the rows of our strawberry planting.  Today our workers prepared the strawberry planting for winter by placing straw mulch over the strawberry plants.  The mulch moderates soil temperatures, reducing freezing and thawing which can cause heaving of strawberry plants out of the ground and could kill them.  In early March, we'll remove the straw mulch from on top of the strawberry plants, and place it in the aisles to provide a clean, soft surface for customers to kneel on as they pick berries.  This need for straw mulch is why they are called strawberries.
Our workers Daniel Rennie (left) and Brandon Ledford (right) placed straw mulch over the strawberry plants today to protect them from freezing and thawing over winter.
   We still have about 1800 lbs. of 'GoldRush' apples harvested, and about 3600 lbs. of 'Enterprise' apples harvested, in the sales building protected from freezes.  These apple are great for winter storage.  'Enterprise' apples keep in good condition for 6 months in the fridge, and 'GoldRush' apples keep 7 to 8 months in the fridge.  I eat a fresh apple with my lunch every day until strawberry season starts in early May.
   The #1 apples look great in gift baskets, along with our jams.  If you provide the baskets, we've got the fruit and fruit products to put in them.
Our 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples look great in gift baskets, along with our jams.  They taste great too!
   The #2 apples are great for making pie fillings, applesauce, apple butter, or dried apples.  40 lb. harvested #2 apples cost just $29.68 plus tax.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31, we're open by appointment, so call 620-597-2450 and leave a message on the phone answering machine saying what day and time you'll be coming, so I can look for you.  Thanks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gleaners Pick Apples for Food Bank, & Many Still for Sale

   Volunteers harvested the last of the 'Enterprise' apples still in the orchard today, for donation to the Cross Timbers Food Pantry of Edna, KS.  Pastor Mark, his wife Alice, and three others harvested 355 pounds of #1 and #2 apples, plus some #3 apples.  These will be given to 120 families next week, as part of their monthly food distribution program.
Gleaners picked the last of the 'Enterprise' apples still in the orchard today, for donation to the Cross Timbers Food Pantry.
   I'm still harvesting a few 'GoldRush' apples, which ripen so late that some are still ripening on the trees.  We now have almost 2000 lbs. of 'GoldRush' apples harvested, and over 4000 lbs. of 'Enterprise' apples harvested, in the sales building protected from freezes. 
    Our apples are great for drying as well as making pies, applesauce, apple butter, etc.  Bill's dried about 160 lbs. of apples for our own use, as well as canning 72 quarts of apple juice and making lots of apple toppings and apple butter.  These were all made from #3 apples, after cutting out the bad spots.  Bill does apple processing almost every evening, while I do computer work such as updating this blog & our Facebookpage, sending and answering e-mails, bookkeeping, etc.
These dried apple slices, or "apple chips", were dusted with a cinnamon-sugar mix before drying, and are a much healthier alternative to potato chips.  Our kids love them.
   Last weekend I planted 25 more apple trees and 8 more pear trees, of new disease-resistant varieties.  'Crimson Crisp' and 'Crimson Topaz' apples will ripen in early Sept., so in a few years we won't have a gap between our earliest apples ('Jonafree' and 'Gala') and the later apples ('Enterprise', 'Sundance', Coop 27 and finally 'GoldRush') like we did this year.
Last weekend I planted 'Crimson Crisp' apple trees, which will ripen in early Sept.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31, we're open by appointment, so please phone a day or two before coming, and leave a message on the phone answering machine saying what day & about what time you'll be coming, so I can look for you.  If you haven't called ahead and are in the vicinity, just stop by; most days I'll be in the sales building sorting apples or working elsewhere on the farm, unless I'm delivering apples to schools.  We'll probably still have 'GoldRush' apples for sale until late Jan. or early Feb., & 'Enterprise' apples until late March to mid-April.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Apples Great for Holiday Recipes & Gifts

    We still have many harvested 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale.  I give taste samples; each apple has its own unique flavor.  They taste much better than grocery store apples, and they're wonderful for cooking & baking as well as fresh eating. 'Enterprise' apples keep well for 6 months in the fridge, and 'GoldRush' apples keep well for 7 to 8 months in the fridge.
We've harvested most of the remaining 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples, and have many for sale. Our cooler is full, so we've got apples all over the sales building for now.
    Until Nov. 30, we're open our fall hours: Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. & Sun. 1-6 p.m. only.  We'll also be here all day Sat. Dec. 1.  From Dec. 2 to May 31, we're open by appointment, so please phone a day or two before coming, and leave a message on the phone answering machine saying what day & about what time you'll be coming, so I can look for you.  We'll still have 'GoldRush' apples until late Dec. to mid-Jan., & 'Enterprise' apples until late March to mid-April.
   Prices are the same as the past 3 years.  Small amounts of harvested #1 apples cost $1.16 per pound + tax , and 2nds apples cost $0.79 per pound + tax.  20 lbs. of harvested #1 apples cost $22.26 + $1.74 tax = $24.00 total, which is $1.00 off the per-pound price.  40 lbs. or more of harvested apples (#1's and/or #2's) get a further $1.00 off each 20-lb. box. 40 lbs. of harvested #2 apples, great for making pies, breads or other holiday dishes, cost just $29.68 + tax.
Our jam shelf now includes 14 different jams and jellies, and 3 different fruit toppings.
   We also have jams and fruit toppings for sale.  Bill has made a couple of new apple toppings, Apple Cranberry Topping and Apple Cherry Topping, that are great on waffles or pancakes.  'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples and a couple of jams or fruit toppings make a nice gift basket.
Bill's Apple Cranberry Topping is great on waffles.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Many Harvested Apples for Sale

   Apple harvest season is finally nearing a close.  We're thankful to God for a record crop.  We've already harvested over 18,500 lbs. of apples, and sold over 14,000 lbs. of apples.  We have about 4500 lbs. of harvested apples in our sales building, ready for sale.  About 1500 lbs. of apples are still on the trees, and I'm harvesting all I can now before we get a hard freeze.
We have many harvested 'Enterprise' (red apples) and smaller amounts of  'GoldRush' (yellow apples), ready for sale.
    We still have many harvested 'Enterprise' apples for sale, and smaller amounts of  'GoldRush'.  We have about 8 lbs. left of Coop 27 #1's and about 35 lbs. left of Coop 27 #2's.  Each variety has its own unique flavor, and I give taste samples.  All are excellent for fresh eating as well as baking pies, applesauce, apple butter, etc.
Pumpkin Apple Bread is great with Thanksgiving dinner, and also good for breakfast or snacks.
   Fresh apples are great in many Thanksgiving dishes.  I just posted a recipe for Pumpkin Apple Bread on the Brenda's Berries Facebook page.  Healthy Apple Salad, another recipe posted as a Note on that page, is a holiday favorite at our house.  It uses unpeeled red and yellow apples, and 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples work perfectly, giving a blend of sweeter and more tart apples.
    We're open our regular hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Wed. Nov. 21, Fri. Nov. 23, and Sat. Nov. 24.  We'll even sell apples on Thanksgiving Day -- just call ahead 620-597-2450 to let us know what time you'd be coming if you come that day.  Thanks, and have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Many 'Enterprise' & 'GoldRush' Apples Ripe


   We still have many harvested 'Enterprise' apples for sale, and smaller amounts of Coop 27 and 'GoldRush'.  The last 'Sundance' and 'Scarlett O'Hara' apples sold last week.  Each variety has its own unique flavor, and I give taste samples.  All are excellent for fresh eating as well as baking pies, applesauce, apple butter, etc.  
We still have many harvested 'Enterprise' (front), 'GoldRush' (middle) and Coop 27 (back) apples for sale.
   'Enterprise' apples keep well for 6 months in the fridge, and 'GoldRush' apples keep well for 7 to 8 months in the fridge.  I eat a fresh apple every day with my lunch in fall till spring, and each year I keep eating 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' until strawberry season starts in early May.
   We still have some 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for pick-your-own customers.  This afternoon was great apple-picking weather, and Fri. Nov. 9 and Sat. Nov. 10 should be nice.  If you want to pick your own apples, come within the next week to 10 days.  We'll try to get all remaining 'Enterprise' apples picked before the first hard freeze (25 F or lower), which usually occurs between Nov. 15 and Nov. 28.  We'll also harvest all the 'GoldRush' apples that ripen before the first hard freeze.
   We're still open our fall hours (Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sun. 1-6 p.m.) till Nov. 30.  From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so call 620-597-2450 to let us know when you'll be coming then.  We'll have harvested apples in the cooler, which keeps them in peak condition, until late Feb. at least.  Come get some apples for fresh eating and holiday baking!
Apple crostata with caramelized pecan topping is delicious.  The recipe is posted on the Brenda's Berries Facebook page as a Note.