It's hard to believe that this year is nearly done. My last post was at the end of the 2016 harvest; we are now finishing up 2017. It's been a year of challenges, starting out with the VERY wet spring. The trees had a heavy bloom but the rain kept the bees inside so no pollination on several of the varieties. The trees that did form apples had so many of them (we don't thin...) that the fruit was all fairly small and a LOT of it!!
We rejoiced during the summer thinking that we'd have a bumper crop to press into juice, and then the heat wave came. It basically cooked the fruit on the tree...big "blister" sunspots on the top of the fruit and smaller damage where the fruit just got too hot. Well, that's farming for you! The cows in the pasture next door really appreciated all the fruit we were unable to use; when they hear Lou's tractor coming they run to greet him! We did end up with some really nice juice; we'll have plenty of cider for next year and have a winter to recuperate!
We've been enjoying all of the guests visiting the farm! Explaining how our "new" press works, showing off Lou's home-built equipment gives everyone a true sense of our unique operation. With the new picnic tables in the orchard, we also welcome visitors who want to "stay awhile" and relax. We definitely look forward to the next year's activities!