This is the end of year five of growing apples. After 5 years, growing apples organically in New England is sustainable because the labor is free (done by me) and this year there was no apple crop, so there was much less work than usual. To create a sustainable farm has been my goal. This is probably the year that reached closer to that goal.
The long and cold winter of 2013 & 2014 took it's toll on the harvest. As spring finally came, full bloom of the apples trees was a week late at about May 15th. But then the petal fall (basically the time that bloom is over) came only four days later on May 19th. Despite this short bloom period, the overall amount of blossoms seemed like a good amount. The next test of the size of the fruit crop is the event called fruit set. Around June very little fruit had set. The Roxbury Russets, Braeburns, Wealthys and SpyGolds had no fruit at all. At this point, a decision was made to not spray the apples with Surround, the clay material that keeps a lot of bugs off the fruit. This was a savings of about $1300, not to mention all the labor involved in spraying this material on the trees 5 or 6 times.
So this year, was a resting year of rebuilding and not spending money of the orchard. It was very sustainable, but only for this year. Over the five years, no profit has been made. Farming is a tough
Still looking to the sustainable future.........
|A single hanger-on apple|