Sometimes things just don't work out the way you expect. Most of our fruit crop this years was off to a great start until mother nature got the best of it. It first started with peaches getting hit with a late frost and we lost more than 60 percent of our peaches. Now, our apple crop has taken the hit.
Its really hard to know early in the summer what the apple crop will do. Initially, everything looked normal. We were expecting to get around 60 percent apple crop which is normal for the producing cycle. When you have a great apple yield one year, the the next year is expected to produce less. Considering that last year we had more than a 90 percent apple crop, we were expecting slower year. In July we noticed that it wasn't raining. After about 4 weeks of no rain, we began to get worried because that's when the apples need the most rain. It eventually didn't rain until the end of August, which put our trees with no rain for almost 8 weeks. We didn't really know the extent of the damage till it was time to pick apples and most of the apple crop was showing signs of brown rot, a bacterial disease. The apples were rotting before ripening. Our pick your own patrons have been able to pick apples for the last 6 weeks, but this point everything that is still left on the trees can not be used.
Fortunately, we will still have apples available for another local Missouri apple orchard. These apples will be available in our store, at farmers markets, and any where else Gardener's Orchard will be set up.
The most exciting news for this weeks is that our first apple cider will be available this weekend at all markets, our farm store, and Heritage Days festival in Fair Grove, MO.
Please see video below for complete farm update, and Farmer Dre's new project on the farm.