June has brought forth beautiful fruit development. Sufficient rains and warm temperatures have contributed to the growth of the apples and peaches. The fruit is quite visible now as one walks through the orchards. The growth of the vegetation in the orchards can also be attributed to the rains and warm temperatures. Although we practice conventional growing methods we try to minimize herbicide usage. Many hours are spent mowing the aisles of the orchards and using the weed eater. There is a need to apply herbicides under the trees, however, as the mowing equipment does not have adequate maneuverability under the low hanging branches. As fruit develops, its weight makes the branches bend lower to the ground creating a canopy effect.
The first variety of apple to be harvested in our orchard is the Early Harvest or Transparent. This variety of apple is difficult to find as it is an older one and is used mainly for applesauce. It is a green apple when picked but “yellows” within days of harvest. Tart with a fine texture it makes a smooth and very white sauce. Early Harvest apples usually ripen by the first week of July. We have planted several new trees but production isn’t such that we can make it available to the public yet. This is the variety that I like to use in my “Grandma Patty’s Sauce.” The apple is the main ingredient but the sugar I add wins the hearts and appetites of my grandchildren.