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This Week on the Farm
Check here to find out what's fresh in the fruitstand and what is coming next as well as updates on what we are doing in the orchard this week.
June 20, 2006
School's out and Strawberries are in!
The strawberries are delicious this year, and we'll have them available in both markets through the Fourth of July. It
looks like we'll have some Michigan sweet cherries for sale by this weekend (June 24). Our own sweets will be ready
around the 6th of July, with U-picking in full swing by the 10th. The sweets are lookin' large, and incredibly sweet.
Jim says the tart cherries are also progressing nicely, and should be ready in mid-July. We'll keep you posted.
Congratulations to our 2006 high school graduates. Courtney (Central Lake Valedictorian), Samantha, Lexi, Jesus, and
Vanessa (Central High School, Burlington, IL Salutatorian) all graduated with honors - must be all that good fruit!
We'll be open every day from now through Labor Day, from 9am until 7pm. Stop in the Creswell Market to pick up a
fresh-baked pie and meet our new baker, Samantha Mason. Sam is a student at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, and
will be creating lots of yummy new treats this summer.
Come visit us at the 80th annual National Cherry Festival from July 1-8. We're excited to be first-time vendors at the
Farmers' Market. Look for us at the Open Space, near the entertainment stage.
May 12, 2006
Asparagus is in!!! We are open everyday. The orchards
got hit by a frost May 5th. There is some damage in the sweet cherries, pears
and apples. It is always a bit hard to tell this early what damage has been
done but we try none the less. Today it finally rained and we needed it. The
apple blossoms are out but it has been cold so I don't think the bees are
around today. Saturday in my recipe group and we will be sharing asparagus
recipes of course. Well, I better get cooking!
April 25, 2006
The apricots have been in bloom for about 3 days so when
it snowed last night we aren't too concerned. It looks like we will
have an apricot crop!!!! Our big job this week has been putting in a
tile through a field behind Jims house. This is where we are going to
plant the Honey Crisp. We are looking for the tart cherries to begin
to show some bloom around May 3rd. I wish everyone could have the
opportunity to walk through the rows of blooming trees where the hum of
the bees is impressive! The bee man has dropped off a couple of hives
but before the tarts are in bloom we will have 3 or 4 pallets of hives
set around the farm.
April 18, 2006
Welcome Spring!!! It is a beautiful day here in northern Michigan. Spring is a favorite time of year for the farmer. The orchard looks great and we always feel that this upcoming year will be the best ever. It is also fun to get back to thinking about our fruitstands. Rose and I are have outlined a few improvements we would like to see around the buildings. Just today Jim said he needed to get with the bee guys to get the hives into the orchards. The blossoms on the apricots should start to pop by the week-end and we should see some white cherry blossoms around the 10th of May. I think we should have a orchard cam like they have at the ski resorts that way you could check on the progress. I'll put it on my "wants" list for next year. I'm off to a baseball game!
April 19, 2006
Hey! This is Rose and I really know it is Spring because Mark Doherty our Integrated Pest Management man just stepped in with our first report! Its been great egg laying weather according to Mark. Because of our great past practices with Mark he couldn't find any eggs. Yahoooo! NO SPRAYING! I'm getting the bug to start cleaning up and stocking my shelves!
Around the farm
April 19, 2006
We are about 15-20 days away from bloom and we are still at 100% potential. For the first time in several years we did not have 70 degree weather in January and February. Unseasonably warm weather in the winter brings the trees out of hibernation too soon and makes them more vulnerable to Spring freezes. This year the trees are coming along at just the right pace, and barring some catastrophic weather event in the next three weeks we should be fine.
The trees are loaded with buds and we are anticipating big crops, especially Montmorency cherries and Honeycrisp apples. Apricots, nectarines and peaches are all looking good, as well.
Jim and Casey and the crew have been busy planting trees and clearing brush and plowing. We added a new piece of property, 16 acres just south of the home farm. It is beautiful rolling country, looking down on Torch Lake, with deep rich soil and good water and air drainage - perfect for fruit trees. We planted 10,000 new trees the last couple of weeks, mostly Montmorency cherries and Honeycrisp apples, but also a few sweet cherries.
Pedro and Jesus have been supervising the tree management crew and pruning and shaping the trees. We feel that we have the healthiest and best maintained trees anywhere and this is thanks to their great skill and work. Developing a strong frame, then encouraging vegetative growth and getting sun into the fruit are the goals of good tree management. This time of year when you can see the new growth and the shape of the trees, it is satisfying to compare our orchards to others in the area.
The shop has been a hub of activity the last two weeks as Vern gets the equipment ready for the season and repairs the inevitable broken machinery. We managed to tear up a couple of plow blades already. Our expert cherry pitter repairman, Gerry, has been here this week fixing up the pitters. He has an interesting career in a niche industry - he has been traveling around the state for decades maintaining and repairing everyone's pitters.
I see the bee boxes by the hundreds out being readied at our neighbors, the Dekornes. It won't be long before they will be putting the bees out in the orchards for pollination.