Saturday, August 7, 2021

Apples and Pears, Oh my!

I sent out an email to my siblings inviting them to help pick our crop of apples and pears.

The first major wave of Liberty, Crimson Crisp apples and Shenandoah pear will hit about September 10. Based on Growing Degree Days, we are about seven days ahead of normal.

Liberty makes very, very good apple-sauce especially if you pick it a little bit early and let it ripen off the tree until its McIntosh aromas develop. I also offered, in the email, to teach anybody who wished to learn how to make and can apple-sauce. I offered the use of my turkey-fryers and kettles. Fabulous idea, turkey-fryers. It keeps the heat outside.

I am excited about teaching the next generation the fundamentals of canning.

Crimson Crisp and Shenandoah are very good salad or eating-out-of-hand fruit.

Novaspy should be ready to pick a week later.

Then Enterprise and GoldRush will be ready to pick October first. Neither are really ripe at that time. They quite happily ripen in storage. GoldRush is prime at Christmas and from an effort/reward perspective a fruit that does NOT need to be canned to make it to mid-winter is awesome. Enterprise makes excellent pies.

I also suggested that my siblings consult with their kids. My siblings might not be that thrilled by the offer but maybe one of the niblings will want to learn.

I can help with lids and screw tops but cannot give away jars.

In VERY round numbers, I am expecting 300 pounds of Liberty, 120 pounds of GoldRush, 40 pounds of Enterprise and 20 of Crimson Crisp and Novaspy each. If lucky, I might get 100 pounds of Shenandoah pears.

Except for three Liberty and two GoldRush, most of my trees are in their second year of fruiting. A well managed orchard will produce about one pound of fruit for every square foot or 44,000 pounds of fruit per acre. Using that yardstick, my orchard(s) could easily produce 3000 pounds of fruit a year once it hits its stride.

This is a good time to cultivate customers.

There are also grapes and persimmons and many odd-ball apple and pear varieties too numerous to mention.

If none of the family express an interest then we let the ripples spread and start contacting friends and neighbors.


  1. If you can get any young people interested I will be impressed and totally amazed. Neither I nor any of my old coot friends can get any young person interested in those old, traditional agriculture related skills. But I am impressed with your orchard skills. Better than mine. ---ken

    1. Location, location, location.

      I think you have a tougher climate.

  2. Where are you ??
    I will bring my empty bushel baskets !!

  3. Joe, the target participants of yours, that is a spot-on stretch goal for society. And for us ughcough*boomers. If'n I ever get anywhere near the fruit-tree production that you do, I intend to hold *seminars* where the fruits get picked, pressed,fermented, or canned, or jellied and the *participants* take home some share of the final products. Of course, not all of the finished product will be leaving the homestead.

    I hope that you will have much more to share on managing fruit orchards. And I don't concede your location as to being better than mine. Ugh.

    p.s. The tobacco is yellowing now, and am taking some leaves off. It's fine.

  4. So, bought a house. Putting my money on debasement and not bubble. Installing the corner posts today for the first part of my garden. Three holes went down fine. The fourth. Oh my. Hard clay. Earthquake auger would not bite. Post hole diggers sounded like an ax striking a log. Stuck squash, green beans (bush) and okra in a week or so after close in a four by five patch. I will have a meal's worth of green beans out of it later this week. Spaghetti Squash is all over the place. Nothing set yet. Okra is two feet tall. No blossoms. We are in 8b so I have until first week in October. Going to plant a fall garden. Going to clear the back 40' of my property (2 acre long deep triangle) and plant apple and pear trees. Already knocked down what the push mower will handle. Your posts inspire. I just have to remember 8b, 8b, 8b. It matters.


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