Farm Focus: Holding Our Breath
As Farmer Al mentioned in his note last week, our orchard crew is switching gears from full-on harvest mode to preparing for next season's harvest. As such, we are taking a look at all of our trees and planning ahead for pruning. Our apricot trees will be receiving a lot of attention by our Tree Team.
Due to unfortunate weather events during spring bloom time in 2017 and 2018, we've taken a major hit on our apricot crop harvests. We thought 2017 was bad when we lost about 50% of our crop. This May, those numbers looked cheerful. We lost about 95% of our Goldensweet crop, which is our most important apricot variety. But, we are now looking at what we hope will be a silver lining to this spring's devastating loss.
Because our Goldensweet apricot trees had almost zero fruit this year, the trees now look amazingly healthy and vigorous. The energy the trees normally would have put towards growing fruit went to new growth instead. We are seeing about 10 feet of new growth on our Goldensweet branches and each branch is loaded with buds. When you drive through each row of Goldensweets, a beautifully arched canopy of branches envelopes you. Of course, we'll need to prune plenty of this beautiful growth back to be sure each branch gets ample light and aeration to produce excellent fruit, but we will still end up with more surface area for the fruit to grow, which means a larger crop. That is, of course, if the weather agrees with us and doesn't deliver hail or a freeze during bloom. We are holding our breath already!