Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pick-Your-Own Apple Season Has Started

   Our main apple harvest season, and pick-your-own apple season, has started with 'Enterprise', though only a few of those are ripe yet.  'Enterprise' harvest continues until about Nov. 2, and 'GoldRush' harvest goes from about Oct. 15 to about Nov. 12 or 15.
Customers have just started picking these 'Enterprise' apple trees.  More 'Enterprise' apples will ripen over the next 5 to 6 weeks.
   'Enterprise', 'GoldRush' and most of our other apple varieties originated from a cooperative apple breeding program begun in 1945, between Purdue University, University of Illinois, and Rutgers University, that selected for apple varieties immune to apple scab disease.  So our apple orchard does not get this disease, which can defoliate trees of scab-susceptible apple varieties if they are not heavily sprayed with fungicides.  So we can apply about 1/3 fewer fungicide sprays per season than we would need to apply if we grew apple varieties susceptible to apple scab disease, such as 'Jonathan' or 'Golden Delicious'.  That is why we do not grow scab-susceptible apple varieties.
Coop 27 is another selection from the cooperative apple breeding program between Purdue University, University of Illinois, and Rutgers University.  I'm harvesting our one Coop 27 apple tree, and have these for sale.
   I'm also harvesting several other apple varieties, and have these for sale.  Some of these are from the cooperative apple breeding program, such as Coop 27 (not yet named) and 'Scarlet O'Hara'.  Most are from my own breeding program, which uses apple varieties immune to apple scab disease as parents.  Immunity to apple scab disease is carried by a dominant gene, so all seedlings of scab-immune parents will also be scab-immune.  We still have to cut down most seedlings in the apple breeding program because they are susceptible to fire blight, apple blotch or other diseases, or because the fruit is too small or has other defects.  I've selected several dozen seedlings for further testing, and have named 14 apple selections so far.
   We still have many harvested 'Luscious' and 'Harrowsweet' European pears and 'Shinko' Asian pears for sale.  I give taste samples of all our apple and pear varieties, to those interested in buying them.
   Small amounts of harvested pears and apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of pears or apples costs $23.15 + tax, which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I harvest pears and apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of European and Asian pears, or one bag of pears and one bag of apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We also usually have some harvested 2nds pears and a few 2nds apples, great for baking or for making pear butter or apple butter.  Usually about 90% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 60% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax.
    Smaller amounts of pick-your-own apples are $0.93 per pound + tax for #1's and $0.69 per pound + tax for #2's.  For 40 lbs. or more total of #1 and #2 pick-your-own apples, the price goes down to $0.88 per pound + tax for #1's and $0.65 per pound + tax for #2's.  Weekdays are good uncrowded times to pick apples, for those who are able to come then.

Each fall some 'Reveille' red raspberries fruit on the primocanes.  Phone a day or two ahead if you want to pick raspberries.
    Small amounts of everbearing red raspberries and yellow raspberries are ripening now until mid-late Oct.  If you want to pick raspberries, phone 620-597-2450 a day or two ahead, and let me know when you're coming and I'll save them for you.  Otherwise I pick the raspberries for my own use and for Bill to make jam for sale, as raspberries need to be picked at least every other day.
   From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 we're open our fall hours: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., & Sundays 1 to 6 p.m.  I'm very busy harvesting pears and apples all around the farm, and often can't see the driveway from the orchards.  While harvesting, I put up a sign on the sales building, saying to ring the bell.  I hear that and come to the sales building.