Thursday, May 30, 2013

Harvesting Strawberries & Thinning Peaches

   Pick-your-own strawberry harvest began on May 23, and we were very busy over Memorial Day weekend and the next few days.  With rain today, I had to reschedule today's customers, and have time to write this blog.  Strawberry harvest should continue until about June 15 this year.  Raspberry harvest will run from about June 10 to July 15 this year.
Strawberry harvest should continue until about June 15 this year.  Call 620-597-2450 to make an appointment to pick strawberries. 
   Strawberries are sold pick-your-own only, by appointment only.  Call 620-597-2450 a few days before you want to come harvest strawberries, and leave a message on the answering machine saying the day and time you want to pick, with your phone number.  I'll call you back to confirm.
   From June 1 to Aug. 31, we're open our summer hours, as the sidebar at left shows.  We're open Monday to Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon and 7 to 9 p.m., and Sunday 7 to 9 p.m. only.  We're closed Sunday mornings for church, and every afternoon from 12 noon to 7 p.m.  You need to call ahead to pick strawberries, and it's best to call to check on the first-ripening raspberries and blackberries, but once raspberries and blackberries are bearing heavily you don't need an appointment.
   Our 6 workers spent the past 10 workdays hand-thinning peaches, a total of about 420 hours, and have finally finished that job by May 30, right on schedule.  Hand-thinning of peaches took more time this year, since we never had a frost during peach bloom to kill some of the blossoms.  With no frost, we need to remove 90% of the young fruit, thinning the remaining peaches to about 6 inches apart on the branch, so they will grow to a large size and not touch, which could induce rots.  Fruit thinning reduces limb breakage, greatly reduces fruit rots, and produces larger, sweeter peaches.  Without thinning, many tiny fruit would develop that would be worthless.
Our workers (left to right) Ian Triebel, Rachael Triebel, Brandon Ledford and Daniel Rennie, plus three others not pictured, have been working hard thinning peaches for the past 10 workdays.
   Next our workers will be pruning and mulching blackberries, then they'll go on to follow-up hand-thinning of pears and apples.  Starting about July 1, they'll be harvesting peaches.