A couple days ago I went around the orchard and took a few pictures of the fruit we're harvesting. The 4 plum trees are loaded, in the photo above this is about the number of plums from each tree. Not all have ripened, I watch and pick only those that easily come from the stem and are turning purple or are dark purple. I will harvest them all over the next week, and hope the rain doesn't crack too many.
Don't you love having the dilemma of an abundant harvest, it allows for creativity and chances to try new things. So what am I doing with all these plums. I'm on my second batch in the dehydrator, I remove the pit and dry them whole, they're delicious. Some will be jam and preserves, some plum juice, and I'm planning to make a plum kuchen this weekend, plus we've been giving them away to family and friends.
The plum trees are on the left, it's hard to tell in the picture that every branch is heavy laden with plums. The Katsura's are on the right.
The apples below are called Akane, they are some of my ealiest ripening apples, the catalog said they ripened in late August to Early September, this year it's the middle of October. They're delicious with a nice, crisp, sweet and tart flavor.
I planted all of these apple trees in 2007, when I made several purchases from Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery. I also bought seedling nut trees that I planted at the same time. The apple trees are just beginning to produce, so we didn't have a large harvest. One must have patience and a vision when raising fruit and nut trees. Every year I get excited even for 6 or 7 apples, simply the fact that they're growing and will produce more and more every year.
Above is a Honey Crisp apple, they like our climate and taste so good. All my apples looked great for being organic, I didn't spray anything, just added dry grass clippings as mulch. I do plan to add aged manure and compost this year. Fruit trees need nutrition in the form of compost, aged manure, and mulch in the summer.
A dark red Williams Pride apple, it has a wonderfully crisp and spicy flavor. It's also an early apple, and cross pollinates with Akane. Having two different apple trees that bloom at the same time, and will produce their fruit around the same time, this is a keys to success with fruit production. Having early, mid, and late apples, plums and pears is a good idea to spread the harvest out. Plus it gives us the opportunity to process them and a reasonable pace. Late apples are important because they're the best winter keepers, I'm planning to buy more late season apple trees to plant this year.
Above is one of three large buckets of apples that I picked from a tree at my work. The tree was big and went out over a creek, the apples were perfectly ripe and taste great. I'm making dried apples, and canning applesauce and apple butter, I'm also freezing some for apple pies and crisps.
We have 5 older Asian pear trees. 4 are the same and produce heavily every other year, but we have the one above that produces faithfully every year. I think it's my favorite fruit tree on our property, I love the flavor, and texture of this particular Asian pear. I like to eat them sliced with cheese, in salads, and just picked and eaten right off the tree. This winter I'm planning to get 3 or 4 more varieties of Asian pear trees, they do so well here and are such a favorite with everyone. Asian pears are also very good keepers when kept cool and can last all through the winter.