Apple Harvest at Arbor Day Farm: A Preview

Aug 31 by in Apples, General, Orchards & Apples, Trees tagged , , , with 6 comments


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.

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  • Jessi says:

    Are you harvesting the honeycrisp yet or have they already hit? We are hoping to get up there Monday the 27th or Oct 2. Thanks

    • Erik Olson says:

      Hi Jessi — yes, honeycrisps are still going strong. Come and get them while they’re at their best. And you might also enjoy picking a pumpkin or two from the patch at Arbor Day Farm, too.

  • Rick Morrow says:

    What is the name of the variety of apple that is VERY large?

    • Erik Olson says:

      Hi Rick, I suspect you’re thinking of the Wolf River apple, which originated in Wisconsin in the 1880s. The Wolf River apple is so large, it’s been said that it only takes one of them to bake a pie. Thanks for asking!

  • Phil DePalma says:

    I would like to have a listing of all the cultivars that are grown in your Preservation Orchard if that would be possible.

  • Ernie says:

    I am wondering what I can do to give my 3yr. old honeycrisp apple trees a boost for next spring.

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