Just 5 weeks ago, we still had temperatures in the teens, and it felt like winter. Since then, we have pruned all of the peaches, planted several orchards, installed thousands of feet of irrigation, fertilized dozens of acres of different crops, fixed numerous pieces of equipment, and done lots of other work that would probably bore most of you.
It has been a very busy month and I’m very happy with how much has been done. It is rewarding to look back at all of the obstacles: the weather, the breakdowns, the lack of help at key times… and know that we worked our way through it.
And the orchard looks GREAT!
So how is the crop year shaping up?
The apricots took a huge hit in the freeze of April 15. That freeze hit at just the wrong time for them. But it also damaged a lot of the peaches in the Carolinas and Virginia, so our wholesale prices could be good this year. The businessman in me will gladly trade a few apricots for higher peach prices.
The strawberries look good – somewhat to my surprise. It took them a long time to get going, but they are growing fast now, and the bloom at least on the Earlyglow variety looks good. We’ll see if the later varieties came through the winter as well. The patch is in very good condition – probably the best it has been in several years.
Peaches look good so far. Pollination has just ended, and it is too early to say how big a crop it will be, but I don’t see any problems. A full crop will be very welcome in a year that others have had challenges.
Blueberries look outstanding yet again. They are in full bloom today and look very healthy.
Cherries had a decent bloom, but I’m not sure that the pollination went very well. The weather was generally cold – and when it wasn’t cold it was raining – and when it wasn’t rainy or cold, it was windy. None of those are good for flying insects. At this point, some of the trees look poor, some look fair, and some look good. We’ll see.
The apple bloom is variable. In general, the trees that were heavy last year (Golds) are down a bit this year. The trees that were light last year (Reds) are very heavy. And the trees that had a nice manageable crop last year look perfect. If thinning goes well, it should be a good year.
There is one more fruit to talk about this year. Raspberries! We planted a lot of them this spring, and look forward to selling them next year. They are located right across the dirt road from the blueberries, so they will be in a great location for pick-your-own.
Stay tuned to the website or Facebook for our opening information. We may miss Memorial Day this year due to the late start. Best berry picking will likely be early June.