Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pruning and Thinning Peaches

   Our workers and I are very busy this week pruning and thinning the peach trees.  Now that college and high school classes have ended, and temperatures are nice and cool, our workers are here up to 9 hours a day, Monday to Saturday, whenever it's not raining.  Most fruits on the early peach varieties were lost to spring frosts, so we didn't have to thin many fruits from those trees, but we still had to remove a few fruit that would otherwise touch at harvest, and we had to prune off many dead twigs.
Our workers Ben Miller (left), Tim Epler (center) and Tre Maxton (right) helped thin excess peaches today, from 'China Pearl' trees here.
   We should have about 30% of a normal peach crop this year, which should ripen mainly from about July 20 to about Aug. 20.  We had to thin quite a number of young fruit on 'Intrepid' and 'Contender' varieties, and we're now thinning a lot from 'Glowingstar'.
All our blackberry varieties, such as these 'Ouachita' have many blooms now, so we should have great crops of blackberries as well as raspberries.
   Raspberry and blackberry plants are still blooming, and we should have great crops of both.  Raspberry season should start about June 1 as usual.  It looks like our thornless blackberry season will start early this year, about June 8 or 10.
   Strawberries are ripe now until late May, and are sold pick-your-own only, by appointment only.  We now have people scheduled to pick strawberries until the end of strawberry season, so we can make no more appointments for strawberry picking.  After this strawberry season, we will retire from growing strawberries for sale, after providing pick-your-own strawberries to this area for 13 years. We'll still grow and sell 10 other species of fruit crops, plus pecans and asparagus, which keeps us extremely busy!
   We still have many 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale.  Our #1 apples, with no damage, sell just as fast as I sort them.  A 20-lb. box of #1 apples still costs $23.15 + tax ($1.15 per pound + tax), which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.
   We have many 2nds apples, with small cracks, cork spots or other surface damage, so we've reduced the price on these.  A 20-lb. box of 2nds apples now costs just $14.82 + tax ($0.74 per pound + tax).  When you buy two boxes, each 20-lb. box of 2nds apples costs just $13.89 + tax ($0.69 per pound + tax), so that's $27.78 + tax  for 40 lbs. of 2nds apples. 
   Pecans are still $15.05 per 5-pound bag + tax.  Asparagus harvest continues until about June 8.  Asparagus is sold harvested for $2.78 per pound + tax.