Full Pear Bin in the Orchard

As you all know, peak fruit season is already very busy on the farm, but last week was a notable scramble. Everyone on the farm went out to pick regardless of their usual job description, and put in extra hours to pick fruit before the freeze. We unfortunately only had time for getting to the bottom half of many of our trees.

By 10:30 last Thursday night the temperature was already down to 21°F. We ran our wind machines, hoping for the best, as the frost came and temperatures dipped down to 17°F. It was a bit nerve wracking.

All that effort paid off though. Our cooler is loaded with pears. We have apple favorites including Goldrush & Empire for CSAs.

Elephant Heart Plum

We also saved some our plum favorites including Italian and Elephant Heart, and many of our specialty Heirloom varieties like Esopus Spitzenburg, Pitmaston Pineapple, and Cox’s Orange Pippin. Amazingly, there were even some small blocks of trees whose apples made it through the freeze! (If they are close to mature and the natural sugar content is high, that lowers the freezing point of the juice in the apple.)

Frozen Braeburn Apple

Harrow Sweet Pear

Sadly the Braeburns and Fujis did not survive the cold. Being late season apples in an already late- maturing season, in that early freeze their sugar content just wasn’t high enough to see them through.
As they freeze, the cells can rupture and we’re left with  apple skins, filled with juice hanging on the tree. Over the course of this week they have oozed apple sap and become self-fermenting juice on the trees. As they wither and fall, at least it will be a nutrient return to the soil!
We are super happy with the pears. You may know that pears are the one fruit whose maturity we gauge by testing how much pressure it takes to punch into the flesh. (That’s the picture at the top.) Color is not a great way to judge because pears ripen from the inside out, so by the time they’re golden they need to be eaten right away! We were so happy that our pears were ready to pick!
We’ve been lucky to get great ideas from customers for all kinds of things to do with our fruit. Below is a link to a pear drink we find especially yummy-sounding!

Spiced Pear Old Fashioned

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