October 6, 2014
I can hardly believe it’s October already!
The weather has been wonderful, though, and it’s a great time to enjoy the farm and pick apples!
I have many apple trees here - the large ones were on the property when I bought it, and are thought to be up to sixty years old!
I also have espaliered apple trees that I planted here. An espalier is a fruit tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, lattice, or framework of stakes. Mine are planted with stakes and are not far from my kitchen door!
Wherever the apples grow, they are always delicious and oh so healthy.
1 Here are the espaliered apple trees. You can see that they are planted close to the house. Father Legendre of Hannonsville, France is credited with pioneering this growing method in 1684.
2 The problem Father Legendre faced was that the last frost of the season would kill the fruit buds. It was noted that the trees planted nearest the monastery walls always suffered less bud kill than those located out in the open. So he planted more trees near walls.
3 Eventually Father Legendre started to run out of room, so he started shearing the trees, which he then realized had the positive effect of causing the plants to produce more fruit.
4 Here you can see that the trees have been trained to grow on wire which is strung between heavy stone posts. These beautiful posts were originally grape stakes from defunct vineyards in China. They were saved when huge areas of China were flooded by the great dam.
5 This is a closeup of the tree branch growing along the wire.
6 You can see how the trees take on a new shape when they are espaliered. The small wire cages around each tree trunk are to protect them from the weed wacker.
7 Here is one of the old trees on my farm. The trees are carefully pruned each winter when they are dormant--this maintains their shape and removes damaged branches, keeping these very old specimens healthy. You can watch this video to learn how it's done: http://goo.gl/kVWH2d
8 Another one of the beautiful old trees on my farm. Some apple trees will grow over 40 feet high and live over 100 years.
9 Apples are a member of the rose family of plants, along with pears, peaches, plums and cherries.
10 This is Laura, my longtime housekeeper. She enjoys picking apples every year. Did you know Americans eat more apples (fresh and processed combined) per person, than any other fruit?
11 Sanu, also a housekeeper, is picking from one of the espaliered trees. Don't peel your apples! Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel.
12 Did you know that 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air - that’s why they float!
13 A medium-sized apple has about 80 calories. Apples are excellent sources of fiber - one medium apple contains 5 grams of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin.
14 Did you know a bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds, and
a peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds?
15 Sanu and Laura are happy with their pickings! Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
16 Laura's basket is filled to the brim! It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider. We make apple cider right here at the farm. It's always so much fun! Here's how we do it: http://goo.gl/64iAMA
17 The science of apple growing is called pomology and apples come in all shades of red, green, and yellow.
18 More than 7,500 apple varieties have been identified worldwide and more than 2,500 varieties are grown in the United States – 100 of which are grown for commercial sale.
19 In 1730, the first apple nursery was opened in Flushing, New York. Today, apples are grown commercially in 36 states. The top apple-producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia.
20 Did you know it takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple!
21 The saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away" comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread!” Beautiful!