In case you missed it, the weather this week was fabulous.
Fruit Growers, like all farmers, spend a lot of time outside. If you have to work outside a lot, you tend to really appreciate it when it isn’t really hot, cold, wet, or windy. This was one of those weeks when it was pretty near perfect.
It was also the week the majority of our orchard reached full bloom. All of our apple varieties have reached peak bloom except for the Rome Beauty, which are always last. Our Red Delicious has had an exceptional bloom. Posted here are some of the pictures I took while working this week out in the fields.
What the pictures don’t capture is the scent. Apple blossoms are wonderfully fragrant, and when you put a million of those flowers in one place… well, it is kind of nice!
There is one other sense that you probably wouldn’t expect to be exercised in a blooming orchard. It is the sound of bloom. All of those little flowers are really there not for our enjoyment, but to fulfil the biological imperative of reproduction, and they need help. The sound comes from all of the insects that find their way to the orchard and play their part in nature’s cycle. Funny enough, the sound of these creatures has changed through the years.
We used to import domestic honey bees, but this has become increasingly expensive. When I was young, we’d have dozens of hives around the orchard for a couple weeks and there was a constant droning sound in the apples. But these days we rely more on native insects. We are very (very) careful about the chemicals we use, and so far we’ve seen good results from all kinds of insects that you would normally not notice. Bumblebees are the most conspicuous, but we see lots of smaller bees, flies, and other insects too. They have a more diverse, and softer sound.
Hopefully they’ve been enjoying this nice weather too!