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Posts Tagged ‘Apple Hill Farm’

The trees are loaded at Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, although McIntosh will not be ready for picking until next week. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

The trees are loaded at Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, although McIntosh will not be ready for picking until next week. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan enjoys an apple at Mack's Apples in Londonderry, where she read her proclamation officially recognizing September as New England Apple Month. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan enjoys an apple at Mack’s Apples in Londonderry, where she read her proclamation officially recognizing September as New England Apple Month. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

NEW HAMPSHIRE Gov. Maggie Hassan, Rhode Island Chief of Agriculture Ken Ayars, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture John Lebeaux, Massachusetts State Senator James Eldridge, and Jim Bair, president of USApple, were among the officials visiting orchards Wednesday and Thursday to officially launch the 2015 New England apple harvest.

Many varieties of apples will be available for picking this Labor Day Weekend, including McIntosh, Gala, and Cortland at a number of orchards. Ripening times vary from orchard to orchard, so always call ahead to find out what is available.

Here are a few scenes from New England Apple Day from around the region.

Time to get picking!

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture John Lebeaux, right, and Assistant Commissioner Jason Wentworth grab some apples while touring the new packing line at J. P. Sullivan Co., in Ayer. Commissioner Lebeaux earlier presented Fairview Orchards Manager Sean O'Neill with a proclamation from Gov. Charles Baker naming September New England Apple Month. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture John Lebeaux, right, and Assistant Commissioner Jason Wentworth grab some apples while touring the new packing line at J. P. Sullivan Co., in Ayer. Commissioner Lebeaux earlier presented Fairview Orchards Manager Sean O’Neill with a proclamation from Gov. Charles Baker naming September New England Apple Month. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Fairview Orchards in Groton, Massachusetts, is already picking Galas, and will begin harvesting these McIntosh next week. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Fairview Orchards in Groton, Massachusetts, is already picking Galas, and will begin harvesting these McIntosh next week. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

L to R: Jim Bair, president of USApple, Bar Lois Weeks, executive director of the New England Apple Association, and Ellen and Mark Parlee pf Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

L to R: Jim Bair, president of USApple, Bar Lois Weeks, executive director of the New England Apple Association, and Ellen and Mark Parlee pf Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island Chief of Agriculture Ken Ayars took this photo of the crowd gathered at Steere Orchard in Greenville.

Rhode Island Chief of Agriculture Ken Ayars took this photo of the crowd gathered at Steere Orchard in Greenville.

L to R: New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, owners Andrew Mack Jr., Nancy, Zoey, and Cindy Mack of Mack's Apples in Londonderry. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

L to R: New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, owners Andrew Mack Jr., Nancy, Zoey, and Cindy Mack of Mack’s Apples in Londonderry. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Owners Chuck and Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire, with Jim Bair, president of USApple. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Owners Chuck and Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire, with Jim Bair, president of USApple. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Owner Tim Bassett and store manager Wendy Hsu of Gould Hill Orchards in Contoocook, New Hampshire, listen as USApple President Jim Bair discusses the current crop. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Owner Tim Bassett and store manager Wendy Hsu of Gould Hill Orchards in Contoocook, New Hampshire, listen as USApple President Jim Bair discusses the current crop. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

The Honeycrisp are plentiful at Wellwood Orchards in Springfield, Vermont. They will not be ready for picking for another week or so, but Wellwood will be picking Macs and Cortlands this weekend. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

The Honeycrisp are plentiful at Wellwood Orchards in Springfield, Vermont. They will not be ready for picking for another week or so, but Wellwood will be picking Macs and Cortlands this weekend. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Visitors pass through a field of flowers en route to the pick-your-own orchard at Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Visitors pass through a field of flowers en route to the pick-your-own orchard at Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

 

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The following four-minute video has tips about how to prepare for your visit to a New England pick-your-own orchard:

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Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, Massachusetts (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Green-tipped apple leaf buds beginning to emerge April 23 at Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

THE LONG WINTER and cool spring may be frustrating to heat-starved New Englanders, but it is good news for the region’s apple growers. An early spring — as occurred in 2010 and 2012 — forces a premature bloom in the apple orchard, putting the delicate flowers and nascent apples at risk of frost damage for an extended period.

This year is more normal, from an apple perspective. You can see the dramatic difference in our Spring 2015 McIntosh News, the quarterly newsletter of the New England Apple Association. A photograph taken at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, on April 5, 2012 (page 7), shows smudge pots beneath green grass and budded trees, a strategy for limiting frost damage.

This spring, photographs from Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, Massachusetts, (page 1) nearly three weeks later on April 23, shows green-tip buds just emerging. Bloom is expected around May 10 or later at most of the region’s apple orchards.

There is plenty more in McIntosh News, including:

  • A recipe for Birdie’s Favorite Apple Brownies from Sentinel Pine Orchards, Shoreham, Vermont, on page 7; and
  • Links to our three-part video series on integrated pest management (IPM), an entertaining and educational look at how New England apple growers deal with bugs, bacteria, and other orchard threats (pages 2-4).

If you haven’t seen the series already, it is well worth it, and if you have already viewed them, they are well worth watching again at this critical time of year, when many orchard pests are re-emerging after a winter of dormancy.

The engaging and informative programs star apple growers John and Pete Rogers and Greg Parzych of Rogers Orchards in Southington, Connecticut, and Chuck Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire.

We hope you enjoy the videos and newsletter, and we welcome your feedback and comments.

Russell Steven Powell

Editor

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OUR THREE-PART video series on integrated pest management (IPM) concludes with a look at one of its five basic principles: how apple growers use a diverse combination of management tools to treat pests in their orchards that pose an economic threat, including the introduction of beneficial insects, and the use of pheromones to attract, distract, trap, or confuse would-be predators.

IPM, Part 1 examines how pests are prevented and identified.

IPM, Part 2 explores how New England apple growers monitor pest populations in their orchards and decide when to treat the predators threatening the apple crop.

The series was produced for the nonprofit New England Apple Association, with funding from Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and its Division of Pesticide Control.

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PLUM CURCULIO, Oblique Banded Leaf Roller, and apple aphids are the featured pests as New England apple growers describe how they monitor populations in their orchards and decide when to treat the predators threatening the apple crop.

IPM, Part 1 examines how pests are prevented and identified.

IPM, Part 3 looks at the diverse combination of management tools growers use to combat pests, including the use of pheromones, beneficial insects, and weather monitoring.

The series was produced for the New England Apple Association, with funding from Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and its Division of Pesticide Control.

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FOR AS LONG as humans have cultivated the soil to grow the food that sustains them, a whole horde of beasts, bugs, and bacteria have attempted to partake of the bounty. For the modern fruit grower, the challenge of protecting their trees and fruit from predators and injury has been compounded by the introduction of new pests introduced to New England’s orchards from around the world.

The orchardist uses a continually evolving combination of tools to combat these threats, collectively known as integrated pest management, or IPM. These methods include:

  • Add nutrients to the soil to strengthen the trees’ natural defenses
  • Introduce beneficial insects to the orchard to feed on harmful ones
  • Use pheromones to attract, distract, trap, or confuse the apple’s would-be predators
  • Monitor the weather with sophisticated equipment
  • Keep records to determine pest levels and to target critical periods in their life cycles
  • Apply a chemical treatment only if a threshold for significant economic damage is reached

Growers have powerful incentives to use as few chemicals in the orchard as possible. They are expensive to purchase and apply. In New England, most farmers and their families live on the farm. Growing apples is hard work, a round-the-clock job requiring devotion to the land. Apple growers are part scientists, part environmentalists, who take immense pride in growing beautiful, delicious fruit and maintaining healthy orchard ecosystems.

There are many safeguards to guarantee the safety of the apples we eat. The heaviest pest pressures occur in the spring and early summer, beginning before the fruit is even formed, and often months before it is picked. Growers must follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s “pre-harvest intervals,” prescribed periods between the time the trees are sprayed and when it is safe to pick the fruit. Upon entering the packing house, the apples are floated in a long water bath before brushing and sorting begins.

The trend toward smaller dwarf and semi-dwarf trees means that less spray is needed to cover the tree canopies, and in some cases enables the grower to use drip lines instead. Whenever possible, growers spray near dawn when the air is still — this further limits chemical “drift.”

Consumers should always wash their fresh produce as a safeguard against mishandling between the time it leaves the farm and when it is purchased. Growers will continue to be vigilant in seeking effective, non-chemical treatments to combat the threats to their orchards. Consumers can help by being more accepting of minor blemishes to their fruit, the harmless patch of apple scab, the occasional spot or nick that typically keeps otherwise perfectly healthy fruit from the marketplace.

But as you will see from “Apple Growers Battle Pests with IPM,” our three-part video series, nearly every farmer is invested in producing healthy fruit in sustainable ways.

Part one addresses the first two of the five principles of IPM:

  • Prevent pest problems
  • Identify the pest

IPM, Part 2 covers:

  • Set an economic threshold
  • Monitor pest and damage

The series concludes with IPM, Part 3:

  • Use a combination of management tools

The three IPM programs are posted on the New England Apple Association website, newenglandapples.org, and on YouTube. Please forward the links to anyone who is interested in this important and fascinating topic.

Russell Steven Powell produced and directed the programs for the nonprofit New England Apple Association, and Associate Producer Bar Lois Weeks wrote the script. John Browne videographed, edited, and narrated the programs. Special thanks to John Rogers, Pete Rogers, and Greg Parzych of Rogers Orchards in Southington, Connecticut, Chuck Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire, and IPM Field Scout Brian Farmer of Apple Leaf LLC, for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

The series was funded with grants from Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and its Division of Pesticide Control.

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Honeycrisp (foreground) and Gala are among the apple varieties now ripe for picking at orchards like Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Honeycrisp (foreground) and Gala are among the apple varieties now ripe for picking at orchards like Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

THE 2012 NEW ENGLAND APPLE CROP was celebrated around the region yesterday, as state officials in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont visited orchards to meet with growers and sample fresh-picked apples.

Mary Jordan (3rd from right) of the Department of Agricultural Resources presents Karen Green, Stephanie Waite, and Gail Conlin of Westward Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, a proclamation from Gov. Deval Patrick naming September "Apple Month." (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Mary Jordan (3rd from right) of the Department of Agricultural Resources presents Karen Green, Stephanie Waite, and Gail Conlin of Westward Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, a proclamation from Gov. Deval Patrick naming September “Apple Month.” (Russell Steven Powell photo)

In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick and the state legislature declared September “Apple Month.” Officials from the Department of Agricultural Resources visited Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Bolton Orchards in Bolton, and Westward Orchards in Harvard to present signed copies of the declaration.

In Connecticut, Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky read Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s proclamation of September 5, at New England Apple Day at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury. In Rhode Island, Ken Ayars, Chief of Agriculture, presented a similar proclamation at Appleland Orchard in Smithfield. State officials in New Hampshire gathered at Apple Hill Farm in Concord to show their support and present their New England Apple Day proclamation.

The 2012 New England apple crop is expected to be smaller than normal due to damage inflicted by a spring frost and scattered hail in mid-summer, but over all the harvest looks strong and is off to a robust start, a week or more ahead of schedule. There will be plenty of fresh apples for picking throughout the season.

Varieties like McIntosh, Cortland, Gala, and Honeycrisp are already being picked at many of the region’s orchards and should be available at pick-your-own farms this weekend. Call ahead to see what your favorite orchard is picking, or visit New England Apples for a listing of orchards throughout the six-state region.

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Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala has become one of the most widely grown apples in the world since it was introduced from New Zealand in 1934. It has a conical shape and red-orange coloring with yellow striping, and it often turns a deeper color late in the season and in storage. Gala is a sweet, crunchy apple, and juicy. Its flavor has hints of pear. Gala is well suited for both fresh eating and cooking, and it is ready for harvest in many orchards now.

Gala derives its genetic heritage from Cox’s Orange Pippin, an English apple dating back to 1825, and both Red and Golden Delicious. One of its offspring is Jazz, a managed variety introduced in 2000.

Managed, or club, varieties, are now the norm for new apples developed around the world. Growers can only plant these varieties if they are licensed to do so. The goal of managing varieties this way is to maintain quality and limit production, and return more revenue to the people and programs that develop them. While this can prevent a popular apple from being over-planted, it means that consumers may not find certain new varieties in their local orchard.

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HERE’S A RECIPE for Galas or other New England apples adapted from the kitchen of Roy Palmquist. For a healthier version, substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream (try the Greek kind for extra creaminess), or applesauce for all or part of the butter.

Sour Cream Apple Cake

6 T butter

2 eggs

1 c all-purpose flour

1 c whole wheat flour

1/4 t salt

1 c sour cream

3/4 c sugar

1 t vanilla

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

2-3 apples like Gala or Honeycrisp, cored and thinly sliced

Topping

1/2 c walnuts or pecans, chopped

1/3 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

Icing

3/4 c confectioners’ sugar

3/4 t almond extract

milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and sour cream, and mix well. Spoon half the batter into a greased 9”x13” pan.

Layer apple slices on top and sprinkle with half of topping mixture. Repeat the three layers: batter, apples, topping.

Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mix together confectioners’ sugar and almond extract. Add just enough milk to make it moist enough to drizzle off a spoon. While cake is still warm, drizzle with icing.

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America's Apple

America’s Apple

IT TAKES GREAT EFFORT and a little luck to bring an apple crop to the crescendo of harvest, but visiting an orchard teeming with apples in September and October is a treat for all of the senses.

Read about how about apples are grown and the challenges growers face as they guide their crop from spring bloom through harvest in America’s Apple, a new book about apple growing in the United States by Russell Steven Powell.

Powell, who has worked in the apple industry for the past 16 years, visited more than 50 orchards across the country gathering information for the book, and interviewed some of the nation’s leading apple researchers.

The hard-cover volume features nearly 50 full-color photographs by Bar Lois Weeks, plus a photographic index of 120 apple varieties grown in the United States.

To learn more, including how to order, visit America’s Apple.

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Lady apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Lady apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

LADY APPLE PROVES THE ADAGE that good things come in small packages. Lady is small but intense! Its bright white flesh is crisp and juicy, with hints of citrus. Some liken it to the flavor of dried fruit. Lady’s red and green color varies depending on the amount of sunlight it gets; the green can lighten to yellow.

Lady is a late-season apple, ripening in late October into November. Because of its size, festive coloring, and ability to withstand a freeze, Lady is often featured in Christmas wreaths, and is also known as Christmas Apple. Lady is a brilliant sight in the orchard during late summer and fall, cascading in thick clusters.

Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

But Lady first and foremost is a culinary apple, packing a powerful punch of sweet-tart flavor. Its small size make Lady less than ideal for cooking, but they are popular in salads, eaten fresh, and pickled sweet or sour, in the latter case sometimes served with a hot sauce.

Lady is one of the oldest known apple varieties, having been cultivated in France since the 1600s during the reign of Louis XIII. It may be even older, dating back to ancient Rome.

The term “lady” has been a popular one when it comes to naming apples. The classic 1905 volume, Apples of New York, lists Lady Finger and Lady Sweet in addition to Lady, while the more recent Old Southern Apples (2010) lists Lady Skin plus four extinct varieties (Ladies Blush, Ladies Choice, Ladies Favorite, and Lady Lyons).

The Apple Book, also from 2010, describes primarily European varieties, especially apples cultivated in the United Kingdom; it adds Lady Sudeley and Lady Henniker, named for the wives of British lords.

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

This tiny heirloom is sometimes confused with Pink Lady, another late-season — but very new — variety. Pink Lady is a firm, crisp, tart and honey-sweet apple with a deep pink flush over a green skin. Pink Lady is an outstanding fresh-eating apple, and it is also good for cooking and in sauce. They keep several months with refrigeration.

Pink Lady, introduced in 1989, is the trademarked name of an Australian cross of Golden Delicious with an Australian apple, Lady Williams. It was originally named Cripps Pink.

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We’ve made a few alterations to this recipe credited to Martha Stewart.

Pickled Lady Apples

2 lbs Lady apples

2 c cider vinegar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

1-1/4 c cider or water

1-1/2 t salt

2 cinnamon sticks

1-1/2 t allspice berries

3 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

3/4 t black peppercorns

1/2 c raw cranberries

Prick apples in a few places with a fork. Bring vinegar, sugars, water, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until  a fork inserted in the center of an apple meets slight resistance, about 8 minutes. Stir in cranberries, transfer to a bowl, and let cool. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or up to 1 month). Serve apples cold or at room temperature.

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2015 New England Apples wall calendar

2015 New England Apples wall calendar

THERE’S STILL TIME to order the 2015 New England Apple wall calendar. Each month features a different New England orchard and apple variety. The 12”x12” full color calendar makes an ideal gift for the apple lovers on your list.

To order your calendar, send $12.95 ($9.95 plus $3.00 shipping) to New England Apples, P. O. Box 41, Hatfield, MA 01038. Make checks out to New England Apple Association. We’ll send your calendar out within 24 hours of receiving your order.

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING Lady apples, follow the “Find An Apple Orchard” link on our New England Apples website, click on “Lady,” and then “Find Orchards” at the bottom of the page.

To view photographs of more than 120 New England apple varieties, go to Apple Varieties. For a description of each one, click on the image, or watch our three-part series on New England apple varieties, featuring Chuck and Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire.

Part two, “New England Varieties—Old and New” includes Lady, and is featured here.

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