Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Many Apple Trees does it take to be an Apple Farm?

Long before we moved to Prince Edward Island we began looking at properties to buy online.  One of the properties that caught our eye was an old farm house that contained 'some apple trees'.  We talked a lot about that farm and dreamt of owning an apple orchard.  We even went to an apple orchard in British Columbia to see what we could learn about apples.
Riding the tour wagon through the apple orchard
When we arrived in PEI we immediately set out to look at the 'Apple House', as we had dubbed it.  To our dismay we realized that this really was an apple farm.  There were probably 500 trees on that property.  I might dream a lot but I do have some limits.  The Apple House was not to be.  Or was it?

Jody has now counted approximately 26 apple trees on our property.  He has weeded the undergrowth out by hand, mown the grass, picked up fallen apples from the ground and most recently has begun thinning the apples on the trees themselves.


Although I haven't participated too much thus far I can see this is starting to look like a lot of trees and a lot of work.  Which leads me to wonder, where is the line between orchard and apple farm?  Is there a difference?  Is it dependant on the number of trees or what you produce?  These trees, despite their age are producing heavily.  Perhaps it's what you do with the apples.  Apple crisp, apple chips, apple cider, baked apples.....  If you have recipes I would appreciate them.  I can see September will be a busy month.  In the meantime I'm content to watch while Jody climbs up the ladder in the late evening sun and exclaims over the joy of finding a perfectly shaped apple.

12 comments:

  1. As an apple lover, I find the thought of all those apples just waiting for the picking pretty exciting. Do you know what varieties you have? It may turn out that some are good "keeping" apples that you can store and enjoy in winter. And, as you think about recipes, don't forget good old apple pie! -Jean

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  2. Now that's a dream I'd love to fall into! An orchard on your property! Have you thought about selling some off at a local farmer's market?

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  3. Jean, you were able to leave a comment, how wonderful! The apples are only just now starting to show their real shape and colour. We estimate there's 2 or 3 varieties. No idea what they may be and probably will never know. Jody did some research and apple varieties planted when these were, 100 years ago, are typically no longer available. Lost to genetic 'advancements'. We'll just have to taste test and see how they fare.

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  4. Laura, Jody keeps telling me it's a gift that we never expected and we should make the most of it. I think he's gone apple crazy ;-) He's looked at information on markets and food licencing. It could be quite complicated. I'd like to see how this year's harvest proceeds before I become too invested however since we live on a highly visible corner with much traffic we've considered just putting out bags of apples for sale right here. I don't think we can possibly eat all these apples and if we did I don't know if I could bear to look at another apple again.

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  5. I think 500 trees would have been a bit exhausting!

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  6. Catherine, I think 500 trees would have required hired labour! As it is some of our 26 trees may be removed over time

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  7. I've always dreamed of living on Prince Edward Island... I'm enjoying your posts!

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  8. Thanks very much Meredehuit! Moving to PEI has been the culmination of a dream for us and we're so happy we came here.

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  9. My son once bit into an apple and found two seeds inside which had germinated. I threw them into a pot and they actually grew! It was pretty exciting! We moved before we the tree produced any apples. So having 26 apple trees seems like a beautiful treat! Maybe you could open a "Pick Your Own" apple farm.

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  10. Oh, I need a ladder like that! I would say you might have a small apple farm ... you will have a ton of apples. I love apple crisp and apple sauce too. I do hold many apples over in cold storage too. Enjoy your orchard. It will be interesting to see what kinds of wildlife will visit to partake as well. ;>)

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  11. Oh my, how exciting! I would probably go a little apple crazy as well. :)

    A dehydrator might be an idea for making dried apple rings you can snack on or add to recipes. Enjoy!

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  12. TS - The trees are an unexpected bonus and we've talked about all sorts of ideas. I like U Pick, it would save us a lot of work!

    Carol - Jody just bought that ladder the other week. We've discovered that apple trees combined with a two story house requires a big ladder! I can tell you the crows are already enjoying the apples but I too am wondering if foxes, skunks and raccoons might be enjoying the feast.

    Ms. S - Jody has a giant kiln for wood and is thinking of rejigging it to dry apples. I like them dehydrated to the point of being chips. But I'm also looking forward to apple cider. I love cider.

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