Saturday, May 20, 2017

Red Raspberries Ripening

   Red raspberries are ripening.  I picked 2 pints for my own use from the entire row on Thurs. evening May 18, and 3 pints from the entire row on Fri. evening May 19.  More raspberries ripen every day, so they need to be picked each day.
One way I like to use fresh red raspberries is on wholegrain waffles with maple syrup.  I ate these for breakfast this morning.  I also love red raspberries on cereal, on ice cream, and on cheesecake.
   We'll open the red raspberry row for pick-your-own harvest on Mon. May 22.  By that day the row should have 8 to 10 pints of ripe berries, with yields increasing each day.  By early to mid-June, the red raspberry row should produce 80 to 100 pints of ripe berries each day.  Raspberries cost $2.08 per pint + sales tax, pick-your-own, and are sold pick-your-own only.
Red raspberries are ripening. I took this photo Sat. morning May 20.  Red raspberry pick-your-own harvest will start on Mon. May 22.
   We're still open by appointment through May 31, as the sidebar at left says.  That ensures that during the earliest days of raspberry harvest, when a limited number of berries are ripe, that we have enough berries for those who've made appointments to pick each day.  Phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message to make an appointment to pick.
   From June 1 to Aug. 31 we're open our summer hours, shown in the sidebar at left. By that time there will be plenty of raspberries to pick, and thornless blackberries will start ripening about June 6 or 8.  Thornless blackberries cost $2.55 per quart + sales tax, pick-your-own.
   Our workers and I finished thinning the young peaches and pears, and now we're thinning the young apples.  Unfortunately, the 1 minute of hail we had 3 weeks ago did a lot of damage to the young tree fruits.  We removed hail-damaged fruit and left undamaged fruit whenever possible, but in some upper parts of the trees, almost all the fruit was hail-damaged.
The young peach fruit at bottom left was damaged by the 1 minute of hail we had, so we removed it during fruit thinning.  We also removed small, undeveloping fruit at top right, and fruit that was closer than 3 inches apart, which would touch at harvest and lead to fruit rots.
This is the same peach branch as in the photo above, after fruit thinning.
   That means we'll have more 2nds fruit and less #1 fruit than most other years.  Since we sell 2nds peaches for 60% of the price of #1 peaches, and 2nds pears and apples for 2/3 the price of #1 fruit, I estimate that 1 minute of hail reduced the value of our tree fruit crops by about $10,000.
The upper young pear fruit was badly hail-damaged, so we removed it.  The lower fruit also had some damage, but not as much, so we left it and will sell it as a 2nd fruit.
   The high winds during several recent thunderstorms also broke some large fruit-bearing limbs from some of our peach trees, reducing our total peach crop this year.  I now estimate we'll have about 65% of a full peach crop this year, for which we are grateful.  We are praying for no more strong windstorms or hail this year.
   We still have harvested asparagus, apples and pecans for sale.  Scroll down 2 posts for prices. Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them.
   The phone rings in the house, and I check for messages when I come in from working in the orchards or
berry plantings.  When the weather's nice it's especially important to call a day ahead, as I can't always see the driveway from some parts of the fruit plantings, and when I'm working on a tractor I can't hear vehicles come in if you just drop by.
    If you do drop by, ring the bell on the sales building, which I can usually hear, unless I'm working on a tractor.  When people have left a message letting me know when they're coming, I switch to working where I can see the driveway near that time.  Thanks.