No two years are ever exactly the same. In fact, very often they seem to be direct opposites of each other. Take 2010 versus 2009. You couldn’t get much more different than these two growing seasons are shaping up to have been.

Last year was one of the wettest on record. It rained just about every week all spring and summer. The ground remained soggy and the apples grew large with all of the water they could draw on. Not surprisingly, some varieties tended to be less flavorful than normal and in order to get them sweeter we left them on the trees as long as possible.

Well, as they say, that was then and this is now, and 2010 has been one of the driest in recent memory. The spring was very warm, very early and forced the blossoms out at least three weeks early. And the spring was on the dry side. Then from mid-June on, we moved from dry, to drier to drought conditions. Our orchard sits on a hilltop where the soil is rich but not terribly deep in much of the orchard area. That means that it tends to dry out quickly. Our trees are on “drought tolerant” rootstock, but that doesn’t mean they are drought-proof. And as the dry summer progressed, the stress on the trees in the shallowest soil began to show. Add to this that the weather was extremely hot in addition to dry, and the growing conditions become very challenging.

We hand-watered the most vulnerable trees as well as the most highly prized varieties, but this is no substitute for steady rains. Even the normally reliable thunderstorms were in remarkably short supply this summer. So as we approach the fall harvest we have our fingers crossed that the trees will continue to hold their fruit (some varieties drop their fruit if the drought stress becomes too pronounced.)

The silver lining in this dry tale is that while the apples tend to be smaller in size, the taste is very good. The smaller fruit concentrate and intensify the flavor.

Regardless of the trials and tribulations of the growing season, we expect to have a full array of varieties for sales and plenty of fruit for cider. We look forward to seeing you all once again this fall, our 34th year of producing the best in true, natural, old-fashioned cider and apples.


Geoff Thompson

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