by Linda & Rob Cordtz on 05/31/11
The fruit is set and now it's time to thin them out. Every flower makes a fruit if the conditions are just right, if we can keep them from freezing, if the bees can pollinate them, if a hail storm doesn't come thundering through or if something doesn't eat them. After all that you would think we would leave them alone, but no, we end up taking off 70-80% of them in the thinning process. Thinning, it is said, is the single most important part of fruit tree care. An un-thined tree will make lots of very small fruit which means the tree has to make lots of seeds, this seed making takes a lot of nutriments which can leave the tree in an weakened state. Apples and pears will simply not bare fruit the following year. A well thinned tree will give you nice sized fruit and not stress the tree which is why we do it. We have a crew on now of 3-4 folks helping us, this is a lot of tedious hand work which not everyone is suited for so we pick our helpers carefully. Two of our helpers, Olivia and Hans, have done this with us for 4 years now. They are truly gifted.
We had a friend leave the valley this week, off on a walk-about all the way to South Africa. We will miss her and wish her safe travels. Though I'd share a few lines from her blog with you.....
February I helped my friends Rob and Linda prune the fruit trees at their
organic orchard. They were short on workers and it was winter so I jumped at the
chance to be outdoors and learn the art of pruning fruit trees. For about 2 week
I got bundled up and drove 2 miles down the dirt road with a hot cup of coffee.
Mostly it was just Rob and I, we would snip and lob for hours, talk politics or
just be quiet. I remember there were a lot of golden and bald eagles soaring
above us and you could hear the Canadian Geese nesting down by the riverbank. It
was beautiful and cold.
I just finished slicing up my 4rth batch of
peaches for the dehydrator (dehydrated peaches are better than any candy ever).
The taste and smell of this fruit is a humbling experience. Most people have
never had a perfect tree ripened peach in their lives, I know I hadn't till I
was 42 years old! That's a long time to hold a false notion of the true nature
of a peach.
I am a regular at the orchard now and Rob and Linda have
become good friends...so to all the small organic farmers in this country who
work their asses off for very little financial gain, who are driven to grow and
care for their harvests, who get woken up in the middle of the night by
temperature alarms or raccoons, who hand you a peach in late August and watch
you eat it...yeah, my hat is off to you. Thank you."