Thursday, September 1, 2016

Some Early Apples and Asian Pears Ripe Now

   Some of our early apple varieties and Asian pears have started ripening.  I harvest all the early apple varieties, because fruit must be harvested promptly or they will drop when ripe.  I also harvest all the apple trees from my breeding program, as there's just one tree of each cross, and I take notes on fruit characteristics of each cross.
Last week we had a beautiful double rainbow appear over apple trees from my breeding program.  I'll harvest all these apple trees over the next couple months.
   Our later apple varieties, especially 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush', are much more forgiving, and fruit hang on the tree for a couple weeks after they are ripe.  So those later apple varieties are the ones that we allow customers to pick.  Our main apple harvest, and pick-your-own apple season, won't start until very late Sept., and the best pick-your-own time is the entire month of Oct.
   I harvest all the pears and Asian pears, since they're tricky to pick and we need ladders to reach them.  (We do not ever allow customers to use ladders to pick fruit.)  Our European pear crop was greatly hurt by the 6 frosts during bloom, so we'll have very few European pears for sale this year, only about 5% of a full crop. 
   The Asian pear crop survived the frosts pretty well.  I just started harvesting 'Shinko' Asian pears a couple days ago.  Asian pears stay firm and crunchy, are very sweet and juicy, and keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 months.  I give taste samples of all our apple and pear varieties.
'Shinko' Asian pears will ripen over the next month.
  Small amounts of harvested Asian pears and apples cost $1.20 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of Asian pears or apples costs $23.15 + tax, which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I harvest Asian pears and apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag of Asian pears and one bag of apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We also have some harvested 2nds Asian pears and many 2nds apples, great for baking or for making Asian pear preserves or apple butter.  Usually about 90% of the fruit is still usable, but they're 69% the cost at $0.83 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of 2nds Asian pears or 2nds apples costs just  $15.74 + tax ($0.79 per pound + tax), which saves $8.00 off a 20-lb. box of #1 Asian pears or #1 apples.  If you get 40 lbs. of 2nds apples, the price goes down to just $0.74 per pound + tax ($14.82 + tax per 20-lb. box).
   We have harvested apples and Asian pears for sale in late mornings and afternoons.  From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, as the sidebar at left says, we're open our fall hours: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. only.  We're open as usual on Labor Day.
   Most early mornings I'm still applying desperately-needed herbicides, and I can't see or hear cars come in the driveway while I'm spraying.  So if you want to come in early morning, please phone 620-597-2450 the day before you come and leave a message saying the day and time you'll come, so I can look for you. Thanks.