Winter has arrived

The scene today is very different from my last post on October 3 – we had 42 inches of snow  in less than 24 hours two days ago on December 17 – the most snow we have seen in a single day in the 21 years back living in Vermont.  Fortunately the snow was dry and light AND I had the snow plow mounted on the John Deere tractor.

We have cleaned up after the accelerated four week harvest, the orchard had its final mowing , the equipment has all been put back in the barns and some pruning is started.  More pruning will have to wait until enough snow melts so that we can shovel out a gate to get into the orchard.  There appear to be a good number of fruit buds on the trees and we are looking forward to growing our 20’th crop since reopening the orchard and seeing you in the Fall.

We will be doing Zoom Christmas gatherings with our kids and grandkids – all the packages are mailed and appear to have arrived.  Fortunately everyone is healthy and we are as well.  We are looking forward to a better year in 2021 as vaccines become available and family visits can resume.  Hope this finds you and family well and that you are able to enjoy the Holidays.

 

We will not be going into the old barn for a while

 

The old Macintosh trees are holding up well

 

Finished a very good season

Thursday we wound up the 2020 harvest completely picked out.  Most years the season lasts for six weeks – often thru Columbus Day weekend.  This year the size of the crop was good, but not our largest crop – BUT the number of pickers was 50% more than prior years, since everyone was looking for a safe family outing.

We had to make a number of modifications in how we operated, but we feel fortunate that we were able to get our crop picked.  We think we were able to have a safe environment, since almost everyone practiced social distancing,  wore masks as they entered and checked out AND most of the time everyone was outdoors.  Many businesses have not been as fortunate during the prolonged lock down.

You can find excellent already picked apples as well as a wide variety of fruit and vegetables at Dutton’s Farm Stand on RT 11 & 30 in Manchester.  Check the web site at www.vermontapples.org for other orchards in Vermont that may have pick your own apples available for a couple weeks longer.

So again – thanks for your support this season – Sylvia and I wish all of you a happy and healthy winter.

The photo shows the “social distancing” mums at this year’s revised entry.  We found that when we left the gate open – a lot of good folks came in.

WINDOWN WEEK – LAST DAY IS THURSDAY OCT 1

Pickers on Tuesday will find a small crop of Blondees and Crimson Crisps now available. We hope for better crops of both next year, when Honeycrisps will probably want to take the year off after the big crop this year.

Pickers this week will also find good Empires and Cortlands down the hill, and still some Macs on the old trees along the fence line. Other varieties are picked out.  There are also scattered drops.

This will be our last three days and we will end an extra busy harvest season on Thursday more completely picked out than ever before.

Photo shows Blondees on new trees and some fall color starting.

REVISED CLOSING SCHEDULE

We continue to have very large number of pickers and are getting almost picked out.  There are NO Honeycrisps on the trees – there are moderate amounts of McIntosh in the old orchard, as well Cortland, Gala and Macoun in the new orchard.

We tasted the Empires again this evening and we will start them tomorrow Sunday September 27.  With family help, we made 1700 donuts today – tomorrow will be the last day for donuts this year.

We will start a small crop of Crimson Crisps and VERY small crops of other late varieties on Tuesday September 29.

There are relatively small amounts of drops available for several varieties at half price.

OUR LAST DAY WILL BE THURSDAY OCTOBER 1’st – we will be completely picked out by then, if not before.

So thanks to everyone for making it a great season!!

 

Good Macs, Gala, Cortland & Macoun + still some Honeycrisps

Cortlands and Macoun are now ripe.  McIntosh and Gala are still good, away from the barn uphill by the fence.  As of Thursday afternoon, there are still Honeycrisps way at the bottom of the hill below the three Cortland rows – they will probably be picked out sometime on Saturday.

There will be donuts Saturday and Sunday – they run out periodically and completely by mid-afternoon.  Cider has been resupplied, but it will run out also.

October 3 & 4 weekend will be our last weekend – we may be open a couple days into the following week, but we will run out of apples before Columbus Day weekend. Empires will start Friday Oct 2 or a day or two earlier.

Come Friday (tomorrow) to avoid the crowd or early in the day on the weekend.  We thank (almost) everyone for wearing masks and practicing social distancing to keep everyone safe.

Photo shows some nice Cortlands (on the three rows just above the Honeycrisps).

Record turn out for Honeycrisp weekend

Beautiful weather and plentiful apples brought out big crowds of people on both Saturday and Sunday taking advantage of a way to get out of the lockdown.  Folks pretty uniformly wore masks and practiced social distancing, so we feel it was safe for them, our staff and ourselves – much appreciated.

A LOT of fruit was picked – there are still some Honeycrisps available down the hill – as well as Gala and McIntosh in multiple locations.  We hope to be resupplied with cider mid week – donuts will be back on the weekend.  Lots of good Havoc Hill maple syrup.

Friday we will start Cortlands and Macouns.  Empires will start first weekend in October.

Unless we get some rainy weekend days, it is very likely that we will run out of fruit before Columbus Day weekend.  Come now during the week, if you can when parking is easier and we have time to actually talk to customers as they arrive and check out.

Thanks for making it a good harvest !!

HONEYCRISP WEEKEND + great Macs and Galas

The Honeycrisp crop is good this year and picking starts tomorrow (Friday Sept. 18).  Still lots of good MacIntosh and Galas. Fuji’s are now ripe as well.  Cortlands and a small crop of Macouns will start Friday Sept. 25.

There will be more donuts on Saturday and Sunday – we hope to get our cider resupplied on Friday.  Good maple syrup available too.

Folks are looking for a safe family outing and we have seen quite a lot more customers than usual – we may be picked out before Columbus Day weekend.  I post status at least twice a week.

Photos show a Honeycrisp tree with a heavy crop and some fresh picked McIntosh.

Great turn out for our second weekend

Lots of familiar folks came out.  Virtually everyone wore masks at entry and exit – they are optional out in the orchard when practicing social distancing.  We are glad to be able to provide a safe family activity while keeping it safe for ourselves and our workers.

Many bags of Galas and Macintosh went out the door – plus another 1200 donuts.  Remember donuts are only available on Saturday & Sunday and they usually run out by mid afternoon.  Cider ran out by noon on Sunday and we expect to get resupplied by late Wednesday.

This week there will be more good Galas and MacIntosh – Honeycrisp and Fuji will start on the weekend.  We hope to be open thru Columbus Day weekend, if our supply of apples holds out.

Looks like nice weather for most of the week and the coming weekend – time to plan another visit.

 

MacIntosh, Gala, Cider & Donuts

We are finishing our first week with the new one way entrance and exit.  Most folks are figuring it out and wearing masks as they come in and check out.  Since we are mostly outdoors, we think it is safe for everyone.

MacIntosh are still tart, but getting riper.  Galas are ripening as well.  Zestars and Ginger Golds are mostly picked.  Honeycrisps will probably start weekend of September 20’th.

Friday and Saturday forecast is sunny and cooler – Sunday may be showers.   Dutton’s cider press is repaired and we have cider in stock again,  Come early for the donuts on Saturday and Sunday.

Come get your apples!!

Macs

Galas

Great Opening Weekend

We had beautiful weather for opening weekend – our biggest opening weekend yet – saw lots of good folks – virtually 100% of them wore masks at entry and check out and practiced social distancing – I was able to recognize a good percentage of them with the masks.

100 % of the Sansas and about 80 % of the Ginger Golds and Zestars were picked – the remaining ones will probably be gone before the weekend.  Macintosh and Galas are coming along well for the upcoming weekend.

Sylvia made 1200 donuts – all day Saturday and Sunday in the kitchen – more donuts next weekend.  We hope to be resupplied with cider on Wednesday afternoon.

Come see us for a respite from the lockup and enjoy some more good apples!!

 

Most folks figured out our new one way entry and  exit system.

 

Weather looks good for opening weekend – Sept. 5 & 6

We will start our normal hours 9:00 to 5:30 on Saturday & Sunday, then closed Monday and back open Tuesday thru Sunday.

Zestars , Sansas and Ginger Gold all look good (see photos).  MacIntosh in the old orchard are very tart – OK for baking – they will be riper in a week.  Galas are getting good color, but like the Macs, they need a week or ten days more before they get better flavor.  Honeycrisp and other varsities need more time yet – I will post as they ripen.

I picked up 50 gallons of cider today.  Zechers are bringing syrup tomorrow afternoon.  The trial run on donuts worked well last week – grandkids were pleased to find fifty donuts when they arrived.

Please check our safe picking policy – come help us start the season.

 

Saturday Sept. 5 – Zestars, Ginger Gold, Sansa and some tart Macintosh !!

We are starting with the early apples – Zestars, Ginger Gold and Sansa all look good – there will be plenty of tart Macintosh as well.  As varieties ripen, I will post.  Honeycrisp and other varieties will be later in September.

We are setting up for a trial run on the donut machine and hope we can remember how it works !!  Hopefully we will have donuts on Saturdays and Sundays (only) until they run out.

Photo shows some nice Zestars ready to pick soon.

Please check our Safe Picking Policy.

Look forward to seeing you.

 

Plan to start harvest on Saturday September 5

We are cleaning out the barn and setting up checkout stations so we can operate safely – I will post more details in about a week.

Apples continue to grow well AND grapevines also. Lots of work pulling vines out of the trees and getting the mowing done.

The young crows are sitting on the fence posts waiting for the Honeycrisps to ripen. The old crows know that the Zestars come first and the Honeycrisps will be later in September.

Look forward to seeing folks soon.

APPLES GROWING WELL

Apples are up to an inch or more in diameter and growing well.  Our irrigation system has been working overtime – rainfall for all of June and July so far is under 3 inches.  We reduce competition for water for the trees by keeping the grass mowed – yes it still grows even when it is dry.  Most of the crop has a good balance of fruit set on the tree, but we are having to do some hand thinning.

We are making plans on how to safely run pick your own sales this fall – we will have customers enter thru the gate beside the barn and check out going thru the barn.  We will ask you to use face covering as you enter and check out – there is ample room for social distancing in the orchard.  I will post more info as we get closer to harvest.

We (and our family) are all weathering the lockdown ok – we are fortunate to live in Vermont with relatively low levels of the Corona virus.

The photo shows some of the same Zestars with nice apples that were in bloom at the time of my post in May.  Put us on your calendar for the fall.

 

 

FULL BLOOM & LOTS OF BUMBLE BEES OUT WORKING !!

We are well launched on another growing season. The apple trees are blissfully unaware of coronavirus. Bloom did not start until May 21 – very late after a very cold spring and some near misses on freeze damage. Now very warm and bloom will be over quickly.  At this point the potential is there for a good crop, but many steps still to go. We are planning how to safely manage pick your own with social distancing.

Our daughters are all dealing with over full households as all the college grandchildren were sent home – two seniors will have “virtual “ graduations – but everyone is healthy and still employed. We are very glad that all my trips to Boston for chemo were completed just before the lockdown and that the treatments are working.

The photo shows some nice bloom on new Zestar trees.

Hope everyone is managing ok thru the lock down and staying healthy.

PRUNING ALMOST DONE

We have made a lot of headway in the two months since I last posted.  Most of the pruning is done – in  the photo below we are working on the Zestars up near the road.  Many things need to go well to make a good harvest, but there appear to be a good quantity of fruit buds which is the first step in getting a good crop. Once the pruning is done, then the next big task is picking up all the brush and feeding it thru the chipper. 

Yesterday for PI day Sylvia baked one of the dozen Zestar pies that we made in September and froze for use over the winter.  The early ripening Zestars  spicy flavor make them our favorite pie apple.  Watch our web and Facebook in late August for date of early apple weekend at the beginning of September because Zestars get picked out quickly.

In addition to orchard work, I have made very good headway with the immunotherapy treatments at the Dana Farber in Boston.  CT scans at our February visit indicated very good progress – the Doctor showed us impressive side by side comparison views with scans from last September.  So our next visit to Boston is not until June and I am thru taking the long infusions – four daily pills with will continue until fall.

Hope all of you are able to deal with the coronavirus challenges well – we are fortunate to be able to do our work outside our front door.

 

PRUNING IS UNDERWAY

We are taking advantage of any days when the weather is reasonable to get some pruning done.  There are good fruit buds on the trees as we start a new crop year.

November and December have been busy with continued weekly trips for chemo at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  My SSL (small lymphocytic lymphoma) is responding well and I continue to tolerate the treatments ok.  We are now down to monthly trips.  Our two daughters (and their families) who live in Walpole MA have provided lots of help with transportation and a place to stay.

Today we enjoying a beautiful fresh six inch  snowfall while watching the woodstove and celebrating almost 21 years back in Vermont.  Pruning will resume when the sun comes out.

 

 

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