The lack of snow so far has allowed us to keep the farm hands going. The manure is almost all spread and it doesn’t stink anymore (maybe I am immune). We are fixing equipment and storing it, nesting and storing the apple boxes. The Guatamalan crew has trimmed all of the mature tart trees, all of the mature apple trees and most of the mature sweet trees which will give us a good headstart next spring.
This is the 27th year for Pedro, Jesus, and Maria, and Juana is in her 26th year. Mark Doherty (our partner on the Russell Ridge Farms project, and a learned horticulturalist) has worked with our crew trimming over the years and he was trimming every day this fall. I am biased but when I go through the apples I can’t get over what a spectacular job these people do. The trees are gorgeous.
Jack is following the trimmers with the flail chopper which grinds up the trimmings and turns them into mulch. Today we have started trimming the raspberries. The raspberries were far and away the brightest part of 2012 with wave after wave of ripening berries from June until the hard frosts came.
In the fruitstand the workers (elves) have been cranking out apple shipping boxes and gift packs. We still will have apples for at least another month and the quality is very good, especially Spys, Golden Delicious, Ida Reds, and HoneyCrisp. We bought hand operated apple peeler/corer last year and we are peeling apples and freezing them for next summer’s apple pies. (Frank made a video of the peeler and it is on the King Orchards Facebook page).
I have been doing projections and analysis to present to the ag lenders so that we can be in position to put up many barrels of tart cherry juice concentrate should the tart cherry trees come through with a crop this coming year. It has been a very tough year but we sold cherries and tart cherry juice concentrate that we had in inventory, and we had enough apples to fill the markets. We sent Mark and Jack to farmers markets with apples trying to maximize every little bit. We were fortunate enough to be able to purchase enough domestic Montmorency cherry concentrate to get us through to next crop too. So all in all I think we are in pretty good shape! Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.