September is a month that is eagerly anticipated by farmers like us. Since January we have been diligently caring for our apple trees, pruning, thinning, watering and feeding them, doing everything we can to ensure the trees are growing, healthy and productive. Now, come September, we get to literally reap the fruits of our labour; harvest is here! Each day an average of 55,000 pounds of apples are carefully taken off the trees, picked by hand one apple at a time! From there the apples are washed, sorted and packed for you to enjoy.
Have you ever wondered why different apples cost different amounts of money? Before I married an apple grower, I had no idea that each variety of apple has its own characteristics. Some apples are quite low maintenance while others take a lot of care. Some yield consistently each year while others are sporadic. As farmers, we need to learn about our trees and know all about the varieties we grow.
The most challenging apple that we grow on our farm is a well-known and popular one: Honeycrisp! We have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this apple. On one hand, how can you not love them? They are absolutely delicious! On the other hand, this variety keeps us continually on our toes. The challenges start from their inception. They are a slow growing tree, and if you allow the tree to have apples too soon in its life it stops growing and is a weak tree for its whole life. The trees are also biennial bearing, meaning that they naturally produce a large crop one year and a significantly lighter crop the next year. The apples themselves get very large which poses challenges with the fruit splitting around the stem or the apples having “bitter-pit,” a calcium deficiency that results in the apple growing too fast, causing the cell walls within the apple to be thin. Once the apples are picked, they are fussy about how they are stored. The apples can last all winter long when stored properly!
Despite the challenges, or maybe because of them, Honeycrisp are also the most rewarding apple we grow on our farm. This week, as we have been picking and packing Honeycrisp for you, it has been so much fun to see the excitement and happiness on people’s faces as they come to get a bag or a box to enjoy. I’ve even heard people say things like, “Honeycrisp season is the most wonderful time of the year!” And I agree. Second to Arlet, they are my favourite eating apple and also one of my favourites for making a beautiful, golden applesauce. They make a delicious pie and they store well in the fridge. At the end of the day, what’s not to love?
There are three more weekends in September for you to come to our farm and enjoy the apple harvest. Come, take a train ride into the orchard and pick your own apples! Don’t forget to bring the kids between 2-3 pm to learn how to make a mini apple pie with Nana Davison. Take a moment to enjoy the beautiful fall displays and dance with the Pumpkin Butter Band. Eat a caramel apple or a fresh apple cider doughnut. After all, harvest comes only once a year!
4th Generation Davison
Click the photo to see the latests recipe from Rachel Davison using apples grown right here on our farm.
Win a painted pumpkin
We'll be doing draws every Friday in October. All you have to do it pick up a colouring sheet from the Apple Tasting counter, or print one off HERE and return to the farm.
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