Apple Harvest at Arbor Day Farm: A Preview
Here in the orchards at Arbor Day Farm, September signals the true start of the apple picking season. A few early varieties (like Paulared) were ready by late summer, but September is when a majority of apples really turn the corner from almost ready to primetime for picking.
The orchards that bloomed with pink and white flowers back in April are, by September, heavy with ripe, juicy apples of every variety. For an orchard guy like me, these are exciting days when you realize that all the work during the rest of the year was worth it.
We can thank Mother Nature for what’s shaping up to be a very good apple harvest for 2010. Nebraska’s wet spring and summer months gave the apple trees plenty of opportunities to “drink up”, resulting in fruit this fall that is slightly larger than normal. We also have about 1,000 honeycrisp apple trees that will come into production this year. Honeycrisps have a reputation of being the darlings of the apple world, and for good reason. They have exceptional flavor — which trumps all other qualities — but they also have good texture and snap, they’re great for eating fresh or for cooking, they store well, and they’re beautiful. You might say that honeycrisps are the “total package” when it comes to apple varieties.
Nebraska City’s Applejack Festival is September 18-19, and you can count on plenty of apples ready for picking that weekend. For many of you, this annual harvest time pilgrimmage to Nebraska City is something you and your family look forward to. If large crowds of people aren’t your favorite, but you still want a fun, memorable, you-pick apple orchard experience, come see us anytime through the end of October. Find your favorite apples on the Arbor Day Farm apple variety chart and time your visit when they’re ripe for picking.
See you soon in Nebraska City!
Erik Olson is the Orchards Manager at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Thinking of starting an orchard of your own? Shop for apple trees in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Store.