Saturday, April 4, 2015

Frost Didn't Hurt Peach Crop

   We had a brief frost this morning.  Temperatures dropped to 27 F at 7 a.m. at our place, then warmed to above 32 F by 9 a.m.  I checked peach blossoms at 10 a.m. and found some damaged pistils, as I expected, but many other flowers were not damaged.
Peach flowers, with pink petals, had some damaged pistils after this morning's frost, but that provides some beneficial fruit thinning since blooms are so heavy this year.  Asian pear trees in rear, in bloom with white petals, had no damage.
   This light frost provides some beneficial fruit thinning, since we have very heavy blooms this year.  If no further frosts occur, we will still have to spend many hours thinning the peach crop, starting in late April.  First we'll use pneumatic limb shakers to jar off some excess fruit, then we follow up by hand-thinning remaining fruit to about 8 inches apart on each fruiting branch.
   For the past couple days our workers and I have been busy pruning blackberry and raspberry plants, and we'll continue this for the next couple weeks.  I'm also busy controlling weeds in the blackberry and raspberry planting, the strawberry planting, and the orchards.
Our workers Brandon Ledford, Ben Miller and Tim Epler (left to right) and I pruned blackberry and raspberry plants today, as redbud trees bloom along our driveway in the background.
   We still have about 850 pounds of harvested 'GoldRush' apples, both #1's and #2's, for sale now and for the next 2 months or so.  #1 (practically perfect) 'GoldRush' apples keep well for 8 to 10 months in a refrigerator, and get sweeter as the starches convert into sugars.  Fully-ripened 'GoldRush' apples have a taste similar to 'Honeycrisp', and 'GoldRush' is my favorite apple for fresh eating.  #2 'GoldRush' apples (with small cracks) are wonderful for salads, apple slices, baking, applesauce, apple butter, etc.
We still have many 'GoldRush' apples for sale, both #1's (green box at right) and #2's (blue box at left).
   #2 apple prices are still $1.00 less for each 20 lbs. than last fall.  Smaller amounts of harvested #2 apples are still $0.83 per pound + tax, but 20 lbs. #2's are just $14.86 + tax ($0.74 per pound), and 40 lbs. #2's are just $27.87 + tax ($0.70 per pound).  You can also get the 40-lb. discount by buying 20 lbs. #1's ($22.29 + tax = $1.11 per pound) and 20 lbs. #2's ($13.93 + tax = $0.70 per pound).  Harvested #1 apples are still $1.21 per pound + tax, 20 lbs. #1's are still $23.22 + tax ($1.16 per pound), and 40 lbs. #1's are still $44.59 + tax ($1.11 per pound).
   We still have 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, for $14.86 + tax per bag.  'Kanza' is a larger pecan variety, with excellent flavor.
   We also have Bill's homemade jams and fruit butters for sale, all made from fruit we grow.  He uses low-sugar pectin, so our fruit products are made with more fruit and less sugar.  They cost $5.57 + tax per pint jar, and if you return the clean, empty jar to us after finishing the jam, you get $0.50 off your next jar of jam.
   Asparagus harvest should start next week.  These are nice thick spears and I break them off instead of cutting them, so almost all of the spear is tender and usable.  Phone 620-597-2450 to order asparagus, which we sell harvested for $2.79 per pound + tax.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so e-mail a few days ahead or phone a day or so ahead (or at least a few hours ahead) and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.