Archive for September, 2010

Fresh for the Market, September 25

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit, whats fresh with tags , , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Hardy Kiwi Fruit


Another cool week has kept fruit ripening slowed down, I was hoping to have more apple variety’s this week but it will wait until next. One surprise was that our kiwi fruits are on, a bit out of sync with everything else but here they are. If you haven’t had a Hardy Kiwi, they’re about the size of a big grape with more concentrated kiwi flavor then a regular fuzzy Kiwi and there’s no fuzz, so you can just pop them in your mouth.

Pink Pearl Apple


On our market table this week:
-Honey Nectar Cot Peaches
-Fantasia Nectarines
-Friar Plums
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-McIntosh Apples
-Pink Pearl Apples
-Shenseiki Asian Pears
-Red Clapp Pears
-Grapes
-Tomatoes
-Kiwi Fruit
The Pink Pearl apple is a red fleshed fruit, quit striking when you cut or bite in to one. Used by many for apple sauce. We only have a few boxes (the trees are still young).

McIntosh Apple


We’ll still have Nectarines and Peaches for another week after this one. The Honey-Nectar-Cots area combo of a white peach, nectarine and apricot in the guise of a old fashioned white peach.
They’re not the prettiest fruit, always a bit green looking, but inside a delicious fruit. They were bred by the noted fruit and nut breeder Bill Schildgen who lived near Palmer Lake outside of Oroville , Washington. He bred many varieties of walnuts, filberts, chestnuts and quite a few variations of soft fruit mixes, an amazing person I’m honored to have met.

Honey-Nectar-Cot Peach

See you saturday.

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Whats Fresh for September 18

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

We had sort of return to Summer late last week and the beginning of this one and now cooler and a little wet, whatever its Fall..
Some leaves are beginning to turn colors and drop, its a great season. The cooler weather also helps color up the apples.

Swiss Arlet Apple


This week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Fantasia Nectarines
-Belle of Georgia White Peaches
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Friar Plums
-Wickson Plums
-Red Clapp Pears
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Tydeman Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Akane Apples
-McIntosh Apples
-Tomatoes (more then we’ve had all season)

Gravenstein Apple


We’ve been seeing more bear signs around, and actually saw him/her on our way to Seattle last week a mile or so down our road, but luckily no missing fruit or busted up trees. Next week is the Equinox, the days will be shorter then the nights, WOW!
See you saturday.

Our loyal friend and dog, Blaze

When to Pick Apples

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , on September 15, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

I’m often asked when the right time to pick an apple is, a fruit may look ripe for weeks before its optimally ready to harvest. It varies from variety to variety, different years may change the pick day, and what the fruit is intended for has some bearing on when to harvest (i.e. for immediate consumption or long term storage). I use a few tools; a pressure tester (or Penetrometer) , a refractometer and a solution of iodine. The first two are quite useful but not necessary for checking backyard fruit.

Testing for apple ripeness, the dial tool is a pressure tester and the other is a refractometer


The pressure tester is used to check the density of the fruit ( Also the main way to check Pears for ripeness) the probe end is inserted into the fruit (a flat spot cut) to the indented line on the probe end and the dial indicates how much pressure to get to that point .

Pressure testing an Apple


Then I check the soluble solids, brix level or basically the sugar of the fruit with the refractometer. I keep track of all the info leading up to optimum harvest from year to year, so I know about when a particular variety will be ripening. Like I said before, this is all neat o tools which if you can afford, like this kind of thing and have fruit to test, get it. But my favorite and really telling way of checking apple maturity is the starch /iodine test. And very economical too.

apples cut cross wise prior to the starch/iodine test


The above (and below) photo was taken September 14th, the apples are cut cross across the core, exposing the seed cavity. A iodine solution was sprayed on (below photo) and what is revealed is the sugar to starch ratio of the fruit. The iodine stains the starch in the fruit black but not the sugar.

apples after being sprayed with a iodine solution


Starting at the upper left, going across then back to the lower row. I started with the Sunrise apple which I knew to be too ripe (was left on the tree after I harvested them a couple of weeks ago) shows all sugar. At that point its too ripe and soft, good for apple sauce. The next three show a good mix of starch to sugar, the Arlet apple is optimum (I’ve already started picking them) the Pink Pearl and McIntosh will come off soon. The lower row shows mostly a starch pattern except the Coxs Orange Pippin in which I’ll do some further testing, but is at the point in the photo which would be good for long term storage. The others on the bottom row I’ll keep track of and test in coming weeks, all still too green . A apple too ripe, as the Sunrise is bland and soft, the next few have a good blend of starches and sugar but won’t keep for long (a few weeks in a fridge). For long term storage the fruit needs to be somewhat along in ripening but not too far, the vascular bundle (the area around the seed cavity) needs to be sugar. Thats part of the trick to getting the fruit ripe enough but not too ripe, if picked to green or starch it won’t ripen no matter how long its stored. Another indicator of when to start testing is the seeds, they need to be turning or be brown. And generally early apples won’t keep as long as later apples will. If you only have a few apples and aren’t concerned with storage, taste it!

Fresh on the Market Table for September 11

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Red Clapp Pears


Its been a crazy weather week, it rained from Monday until early this morning (Thursday). Over an inch of precipitation, and cool, not much warmer then 60. I love that kind of weather personally, but Peaches and Tomatoes don’t care for it. I usually pick the soft fruit every other day, as it ripens, but ripening pretty much stopped this week. In last weeks post I stated that there will be Fantasia Nectarines, but not yet. Everything else I said would be, will be at the market on Saturday. I know better then to predict what will be ripe tomorrow or next week, I’ll attempt to refrain from doing so and maybe state what may be coming…
For sure this week we will have:
-Red Globe Peaches
-Red Gold Nectarines
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Akane Apples
-Ginger Gold Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Swiss Arlet Apples
-Tydeman Apples
-Tomatoes

Red Globe Peaches


The apples like the cooler weather and are coloring up nicely. We should be getting in to our Fall apples in the next couple of weeks, Nectarines and Peaches still on the way.
See you saturday.

Whats Fresh for September 4, 2010

Posted in farmers market, Grouse Mt. Farm, organic fruit with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by Grouse Mt. Farm

Does that say September?? Well I guess it does and is the next month already. Its been feeling Autumn-ish , cool nights, shorter days and the quality of the light has changed. But not to brood on the impending season change, its still warm and there will be soft fruit for the month. The cool nights do help the apples color up. I thought we’d have the next variety of nectarines this week but the cooler temperatures has slowed ripening on them a bit, next week for sure, and then for probably at least three weeks.

Burbank Plum


This week we’ll have:
-Garnet Peaches
-Red Globe Peaches
-Babcock White Peaches
-Raritan Rose White Peaches
-Independence Nectarines (Not many)
-Shiro Plums
-Burbank Plums
-Akane Apples
-Gravenstein Apples
-Sansa Apples
-Sunrise Apples
-Tydeman Apples
-A few Tomatoes
When we came home last Saturday we found fresh signs of a bear in the orchard, but not since or any fruit missing. We did see a little one while driving (about a 1/2 mile from our place) on our road on Tuesday, looked like a yearling to me, too cute.

Tydeman Apple, a cross between McIntosh & Worcester Pearmain


New for next week we will have Fantasia and Red Gold Nectarine, Red Clapp Pear, Swiss Arlet Apple, and more peaches.
See you Saturday.