Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rhythm of the Seasons

Rhythm of the Seasons
Do you feel it in the air? Labor Day has become our symbolic end of summer. Fall is here, kids are back in school and football games can be watched Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fall harvest, winter rest, spring wake up, summer growth. Around and around we go in an endless circle of life. King of the fruit harvest has been the apple from the beginning of time. Apples were in the Garden of Eden, the stone ages, and the ancient Greeks and Romans grew several verities. Lets not forget John Chapman aka “Johnny Appleseed”, William Tell and John McIntosh who in 1796 discovered the McIntosh apple in Ontario Canada.

Apples were an incidental part of frontier farms. They were eaten fresh and stored in a root cellar for use throughout the year. Henry must have planted apple trees in the 1860s soon after clearing the land for farming. For generations on our family fruit farm, September has meant apple harvest time. The kids of Henry and Sarah must have been required to help pick apples and pack them in barrels. They also helped transport the apples by horse drawn wagon to Glenn or South Haven for shipment to Chicago. The making of apple cider, applesauce and apple crisp has also been a fall activity throughout the generations.

As I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s our parents and grand parents served us kids apples all winter long. Sometimes with popcorn and home made canned grape juice. Treats don’t get any better than that! Grandma Edna would peal an apple by go around and around without breaking the pealing. She would end up with a very long apple peal. We have enjoyed the fruits of summer now is the time to enjoy the fruit of fall – the apple.

At the Farm Sept. 2, 2009

The cherries, apricots, nectarines, plums and pears are picked. Peaches are almost completed and apples are starting. I caught the farm kids (L to R - Kortny, Alex, Aaron, Adam, and Kelsy) picking nectarines a couple of weeks ago. With them back in school, their help on the farm will be missed.

September starts the longest harvest season – apples. Over 25 varieties will be picked from late August to late October. They begin with Paula Red and end with Fugi. In between you will find somewhat in this order: Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Empire, Macoun, Mutsu, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Melrose, Ida Red, Yellow Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Northern Spy, Braeburn, Cameo, Red Rome and a few others.

At the retail and u-pick location (109th Ave & 64th St.) you can pick your own apples or pumpkins. If you prefer, you can select aready picked apples and pumpkins from 20-bushel boxes. Lucia, Aaron and Kim are there to help. Some of the harder varieties are stored in the cooler and can be purchased during the late fall and winter months.
Don’t forget to eat your fruit!