Orchard Update: Early Spring
Welcome to Spring! Well…sort of. While we are starting to feel summer already in Houston, in New York, where the apples are grown, there isn’t yet much sign of the new season. Yes, the snow has finally melted and there has been an occasional high in the upper 50s, but mostly highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s are the norm for March and even early April. As that is the case, winter activities will continue. The most important of these activities is pruning. While not the most glamorous of farming work, pruning is essential to consistently produce quality fruit. Pruning helps encourage new growth, opens the tree canopy for better sunlight penetration and air circulation, and helps optimize the shape of the tree for improved production. The cuttings from the tree fall to the ground and then are chopped up with a tractor and a chopping implement. This organic matter decays and returns to the soil.
Over the next couple of weeks, the guys will start pulling the mowers, sprayers, and tractors from the winter storage barns in preparation for some actual spring weather. While most people in the area are eager (to say the least) for warmer temps, the apple growers will be praying it doesn’t get too warm too soon. If blossoms start to push early, it can leave them susceptible to freezing from a late-season cold snap, which can be catastrophic for the year's crop. Fingers crossed!
On the cider side of the operation, we continue to push towards the goal of having all the fruit pressed and fermenting by the end of winter. We believe that the apples benefit from a little time in cold storage but not a lot. We are very close to achieving that goal as there are only a few stacks of apple bins left in storage! As the juicing activities slow, we pivot our attention to the evaluation and blending of our many experimental and production batches. While we are very proud of our current products, we are constantly looking to elevate our game with new yeast strains and different apple variety blends. Expect some new amazing orchard blends and seasonals to show up at the taproom in the coming months.
Pretty soon the orchard will burst with blossoms and we are excited to share these images with you.
Experimental blends awaiting evaluation.
Last stacks of apple bins at our cold storage alongside some totes of juice ready to be shipped to Houston.
The final bit of snow in an orchard block that was pushed out last fall.