Sunday, September 5, 2010

Apples, Apples, Apples

When we bought the farm, we inherited an overgrown orchard of heirloom apple trees, All were planted within the last 6 years  - so not too old and overgrown.  The previous owner just didn't get around to pruning and managing them.  My first year I missed windows of opportunity to spray for pests.  We did some pruning and thinning but didn't have much of a yield.  Since we were trying to be as pesticide free as possible I bought a book The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist which has been my bible.  The picture is proof of vigilance and commitment to organic practices.  Most of the apples in the picture are large apples almost the size of 20 ounce apples.  Of the 60 apple trees we have, about 40 of them produced this year, many full to the brim with apples.  We don't know what varieties as the previous owner lost his map.  I have walked the orchard and mapped what I assume to be different varieties based on how he clustered the trees of like varieties.  Now comes the painstaking but tasty work of trying to identify them on looks, taste, texture and when they ripen.  I have always wanted heirloom apples and was thrilled to find them on this farm.
The flavors and looks are unlike the generic apples found in every supermarket.  Last year the cider we made was unlike any cider I ever tasted and am looking forward to this years batch.

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