Thursday, 11 November 2010

Apple season review

Apple picking  season ended last week, way later than we expected. The winesaps, which started ripening much earlier than usual (along with all the other apples), stayed small and so we had to wait for them to get big enough and picked them in phases. By now the few that are left are just tiny and the weather's too cold for them to get big enough to sell.

We had a reasonable crop this year, but not an outstanding one. Many growers in this area lost most of their crop to fungus diseases and we had our share, but we ended up with about 5 tons of good, salable apples. We've been selling them to the local discount grocery store, Checkers, which has an excellent array of local products, great produce, and more interesting gourmet items than you would expect from the look of the place, a kind of warehouse style. Late in the season, the Community Mercantile - the organic and health food store - asked for apples and we sent them some winesaps. And two local restaurants and a local pie maker have been using our apples pretty regularly. At 715 (715 Massachusetts), a fairly new restaurant in Lawrence that patronizes many local food suppliers, we were surprised and delighted to find "Beisecker Farms Apple Crumble" on the dessert menu, and I had some lovely salads there with apple slivers included. They will continue to have our apples through November, at least.
Here's the apple sorting room in action. We bag and weigh them on the table in the foreground. Tom's son David made the table, I think in high school. He's a philosophy professor now.

Galas, washed, but not sorted yet

Apple washing and sorting apparatus. The "seconds" are in the front bins.

We started using this equipment last year in the garage, but now it's neatly installed in the refurbished barn(notice the nice light walls). We got it second hand from Mr. and Mrs. Speer, some lovely people in Arkansas City who were retiring their orchard. Sadly, we didn't get their donut maker. The washer seems to have been manufactured around 1962, the date of the instruction booklet, and the sorter maybe 20 years later. The Speers got the equipment from Pool's Orchard in Arkansas City. Pool's purchased the sorter at an auction in 1985. All of it works beautifully and is far better than the washing, polishing and sorting that we used to do in the kitchen.

Here is a picture of the galas just after they were picked, August 20.

And here are the later season Fujis and winesaps

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing how the apples were prepped for sale!