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.