Broad Valley Orchard

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August- The Dog Days of Summer- and a Thirsty Dog It Is


Yes, this hot, dry (yet humid), and smoggy,weather is tough to deal with. I have been getting up at 5 AM for 6 weeks now, irrigating the orchard, for an hour, with hundreds of feet of soaker hoses. I repeat the operation each evening after 7 PM, on different rows of trees. So far it is working, most of our apples and pears are growing and ripening on schedule. The Pristine and Red Free came thru with tasty crops, but each apple was about 25% smaller than normal.

Next week we start picking Ginger Golds. This variety is unusual for a summer apple because it stores quite well. It is a multi-purpose apple; we sell our #2s (marked but usable) to CSA customers for 1/4 to 1/3 of our farmers market price. Then next week we start looking at Sansa, and then Gala. In a rainy year we often lose the Gala to apple scab. We are trying out the new resistant variety Galarina to solve that problem. And Sansa, which is not marketed as a resistant variety, seems to be quite scab resistant, as well as very tasty.

The blackberry crop is coming on strong. This dry weather also helps the quality of the bramble crops (as long as we keep the roots watered). Too much rain makes for crumbly and moldy berries. Japanese beetles seem less of a problem this year, I have heard reports of, and have seen European House Sparrows eating JBs. How about that, one exotic pest preying on another. And our nesting pair of native sharp-shinned hawks seem to enjoy eating the sparrows. Well, I guess that the Earth abides.

In the heat of the day, I admit – I take a nap. I also read and write, and catch up on my paperwork, in this ‘siesta time’ before I get back to work. Since we have resumed buying bulk organic goods, as ‘seed money’ for this effort to re-vitalize the Adams County Food Co-op (1973-1983), I cooked up a batch of granola yesterday, to take into CSA next week as samples, to get more people involved. I just had a bowl with a spoonful of “Blackberry Zing” (see ‘Recipes‘) on it = Ahhhh! For a couple years we have been ‘too busy’ and have been using store bought cereal and bread, which is high priced and not tasty.

Well that is the good thing about beginning our next 5 year plan = downsizing! I heartily recommend it to all of you. Bake some granola, can some apple sauce = it just might be good practice for what may soon happen to our very unstable economy. I just looked at my first journal, from 1973 – back when we learned to make granola and bread and started a ‘granola and honey co-op’ with our hippie friends in Moscow, Idaho. Life has this habit of repeating itself………

Thank You

Thom Marti

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