The Orchard

 

Our high fenced apple orchard was planted late summer in 2013 with 32 trees. Since then we have added five more. We strategically selected 10 different varieties of apples to plant. They are a mix of both eating and cooking apples with all varieties approved by the U of M Horticulture Department for this climate. Maturing on a varied schedule from late August through early October.  We placed the orchard on the recommended south facing slope and enclosed it with a 10' mesh fence to protect it from browsing deer.

 

Each year our apple crop has increased as the trees mature. In 2017 we were  overrun with apples with an estimated 2,800 apples. They were perfect, clean, crisp, no worms, etc.  We gave them away by the bag loads to friends and family to enjoy. Now in 2018, we had just as many. Again, giving away apples to 41 different families, some multiple times is a good way to utilize them.

 

Below is the orchard layout along with the descriptions of the different varieties. 

 

The land also provides us with many wild grapes, raspberries, blackberries and plums. Each year as they ripen, we collected them for jams, jelly, syrups and making some wonderful desserts. This year we also juiced much of them for making homemade wine. The abundance of these fruiting plant species is another reason the wildlife is attracted to the property. 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       Red Regent        State Fair

 

                              Honey Gold      Red Regent         Red Baron          Hazen                Hazen    

 

                              Honey Gold      Red Regent         Red Baron          Red Baron        Hazen      

 

                               Macintosh        Honey Gold                                     Sweet 16          State Fair      State Fair

 

        Macintosh     Fireside             Fireside               Sweet 16            Honey Crisp     State Fair      Zestar

 

                           Macintosh                                      Red Baron         Zestar                 Zestar           Zestar

 

        Fireside          Fireside             Fireside               Honey Crisp       Honey Crisp     Zestar            Zestar

 

 

 

Early Apples

Hazen:   Late August to Early September  - Large round red to greenish yellow, medium firm, juicy very sweet flesh. Mild subacid flavor. Pleasant for both eating and cooking.

 

State Fair:   Mid to Late August – Striped red, juicy moderately sweet good for both eating and cooking. Fruit will store 2-4 weeks. Prone to biennial bearing. Great tasting... better than Hazen

 Zestar:  Late August to Early September  - Large crunchy with juicy sweet tart flavor. Excellent for both eating and cooking. Fruit will store 6-8 weeks.

 

 Mid Season Apples

 Red Baron:  Mid September – Medium size red and yellow with juicy flesh and mild sweet flavor. Best for eating, stores for 4-5 weeks.

 

Sweet Sixteen:  Mid to late September – Crisp and juicy with exotic yellow flesh and a very sweet unusual sugar cane flavor. Subject to premature drops. Stores 5-8 weeks.

Honeycrisp:  Mid to late September -  Red over yellow in color. Explosively crisp, juicy texture. U of M best apple. Stores for up to 5 months.  Eating cooking and salads.

 

 Late Season Apples

 Honey Gold:  Late September through early October – Golden to yellow green sweet and crisp. Excellent for fresh eating and good for cooking.  Stores for 2-3 months

 

Red Regent:  Early to mid October - Appealing red striped apple good for eating and cooking. Stores 4-5 months.

Fireside:  Mid October -  Very large fruit sweet flavor. Best for fresh eating, salads and baked apples.

 

Macintosh:  Early October – Medium red and green skin with tart flavor.  Sweet and sharp flavor. Best for fresh eating, salad, cooking and drying.