We still have many 'Luscious' European pears in our cooler, ready to sell. We now have Bill's homemade pear butter for sale again, freshly made from 'Luscious' European pears, which are especially good for making pear butter.
We just started harvesting 'Harrowsweet' European pears, and we have 17 20-pound boxes for sale now. This pear variety lives up to its name: it's very sweet. We'll keep harvesting 'Harrowsweet' for the next couple weeks, so we should have 'Harrowsweet' for sale until early Oct.
|We have a good amount of 'Harrowsweet' European pears for sale, now until early Oct.|
I give taste samples. Many who didn't like pears before tasting ours love these varieties.
We have small amounts of a few early apple varieties, and some selections from my apple breeding program, which I harvest and have for sale. Our pick-your-own apple season will start about Sept. 22 and run until about Nov. 12. That's also our main apple season, when we'll have many harvested apples for sale.
All our apple varieties are immune to apple scab disease, so we don't have to spray for that disease, so we can put on 1/3 fewer fungicide sprays than if we grew scab-susceptible apple varieties such as 'Jonathan' or 'Golden Delicious'. I give taste samples of the apple varieties that are ripe at the time.
I also have my own apple breeding program, which uses apple varieties immune to apple scab disease as parents. Since the gene for scab immunity is dominant, all offspring from these crosses will be immune to apple scab.
Developing new apple varieties is a long process, which takes 15 to 20 years. First I select parents that might make a good combination for producing apple seedlings that bear large, tasty fruit with resistance to other diseases and insects. During apple bloom in early April, I remove anthers, petals and sepals from the flowers that I will hand-pollinate, so they do not get pollinated by bees with other pollen. I dry the anthers which contain pollen, and use a paintbrush to apply pollen from the male parent to the pistils of the female parent.
At harvest, I can tell the apples that I hand-pollinated since they have no sepals, so I save those fruits, extract the seeds, and stratify the seeds over winter in moist vermiculite in a refrigerator. I plant the seeds in pots, a year after I made the cross, and grow the seedlings in pots until fall, when I plant the seedlings in the field. Then I wait 8 or 9 years until the seedling trees start to bear fruit that I can evaluate. We eliminate any trees that are susceptible to fire blight, and after the trees fruit, we eliminate any trees with fruit that is too small or susceptible to apple blotch, cracking or other fruit problems. Of the hundreds of apple seedling trees from controlled crossed that I've planted over the past 15 years, over 90% have been or will be cut down because they aren't worthy of further testing.
I have selected several dozen seedlings for further testing, and have named 18 apple selections so far. I harvest all the apple trees from my breeding program, as there's just one tree of each cross, and I take notes on fruit traits of each cross. We offer harvested apples of these apple selections for sale.
|Yesterday I harvested a selection from my apple breeding program, a cross of 'Jonafree' and 'Sundance', that I named 'Jonasun'.|
Prices for apples, pears and raspberries are detailed in the previous blog post (scroll down).
We're now open our fall hours, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30: open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and Sundays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. I'm usually out harvesting pears or apples, so I put a sign on the sales building post to ring the bell for service. Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it and come to the sales building.