A Note from Farmer Al: March 19, 2018

Dear CSA Members,
My report from the field: wet, muddy, cold. All trees are now at some stage of bloom, the time of highest risk for this year’s crop. The ideal weather would be dry, sunny, warm, which would stimulate growth.
So, let’s look at each crop status, by variety.

Apricots  

  •  Apache – no crop due to 8 hours of freezing temperatures on just formed fruit on February 24th.
  • Kettleman- avoided the February 24th freeze by not yet having developed fruit.
  • Golden Sweets – Very erratic bloom. Too early to predict a crop, but I’m not optimistic.

Cherries

  • Royal Tioga, our newest variety will probably have a crop. This variety was developed by Zaiger Genetics to have much lower chill hour requirements than Brooks or Rainier.
  • Rainiers – Probably ok. Our most reliable cherry!
  • Bing & Brooks – Not enough chill to set a crop.
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Peaches – In full bloom now, looking really good.

Nectarines – In Full bloom, however, the success of the crop will depend on our ability to control thrips (small insect that damages fruit). And Thrips control depends on our ability to get into the orchard with our tractor) to spray the thrips(we use a biological material approved for organics). Right now, that’s not happening.

Plums & Pluots

  • Santa Rosas are one of our most reliable fruits. It always succeeds and satisfies.
  • Dapple Dandys had an amazing bloom as it always does. Can’t see any fruit yet.
  • Flavor King. Beautiful full bloom, but definitely requires cross-pollination. Bees are best, but we always blow on “purchased” pollen as an insurance policy.
  • Emerald Beauts. This laggard bloomer always drags its feet to flower, not a bad strategy to avoid the early March “madness.”

Warren Pears – Just now coming into bloom. To get a crop the flowers MUST be cross-pollinated, either by bees or by us blowing pear pollen, bees don’t work well in windy weather. And our vehicles can’t get into the orchard in muddy weather to blow pollen. If this weather doesn’t change soon, it will be a very light crop.

Pink Lady Apples – Not even close to blooming yet.

I’ll know a lot more by next week. Stay tuned.
Farmer Al