Fruit on the Farm

Although we grow a lot of vegetables we also have 3 apple trees, 1 pear tree and concord grapes that were already on our property. Due to the short growing season and late snow storms that are common here we have only gotten fruit off our trees half of the years we’ve lived here. In the spring the trees start to bud out and if it snows after the flowers open we lose any chance of fruiting. This year we were lucky and managed to have the trees fruit.

We are also working on a potential raspberry patch, rhubarb and strawberries. The birds will be our biggest issue as they have been tasting almost every apple on the tree. We’ll see how it goes.

What To Do with Grapes

The season was good for the grape vine and now I finally know what type of grapes we have; Concord grapes with a large amount of seeds! While the grapes taste fantastic, the seeds make them less than marketable to sell as an eating grape. I’ve never been much of a jelly maker but I love real fruit juice.

After a little research we found a canning recipe to make grape juice from whole grapes and decided to give it a try. It might make a great novelty for selling. An attractive shelf stable jar of grape juice with grapes in tow that just requires a strainer to be drink ready!

 

 

It’s a good thing we have bee keeping suits because they were needed to harvest the grapes. A combination of our honey bees, wasps and yellow jackets took over the fully ripened grapes, so I had to fight for them. When we were all done there was not much left to look at!

Once washed and cleaned, we poured the grapes into jars, sprinkled sugar in and filled with boiling water. Then we did a standard water bath until the jars sealed.

 

We waited a few days and cracked open the first jar to try our juice. The taste was good but a little weak. Next year I will add more grapes to see if that improves both appearance and taste. I’m also going to break down and try making jelly.  We will eventually find the best format to sell these grapes!

 

A Fruitful Spring

Pears

After last year’s disappointing blossom freeze from the Mother’s Day snow storm, we are so excited to see fruit popping up on our trees and vines! After the hard pruning over the  winter to fix a bad cut job, I was happy to see a few pears on the pear tree. I wasn’t expecting a lot this year but looking forward to a better next year.

Apples

 

There are quite a few apples on two of the three apple trees. The deer like to frequent this area and we don’t have our fence back up yet. I hope they save us some fruit, at least at the top of the tree.

Walnut

I found a tree label for a Black Walnut tree and I think I found it! I had a specialist look at this tree and he felt it probably wouldn’t bear nuts based on the lack of care. I was so happy to see pods forming! They started dropping off with the heat, but I’m crossing my fingers that we get a few nuts this year just to see what they are like.

Grapes

And of course the grape vine is yielding  grapes. The first thing that comes to my mind is how am I going to keep these from the birds?! I’m going to have to investigate this further. I’ve tried netting on my blueberries in the past and found birds get stuck in them. Maybe there is a better netting out there somewhere.

With each success, I find there is always a question behind it that requires a little more work………the fun of creating a farm!

Pruning Grape Vines

Grapes

When we moved to the farm it was winter and the overgrown grapevines were in hibernation. It was a great time to cut them back. I was nervous, but did some severe pruning and loaded it up with compost.

Grape Vine 2014
The new growth was incredible, covering half of the shed it sits in front of, but no grapes.

Grape Vine 2015

Grapes grow on second year shoots so I this year I had to carefully prune the vines correctly. I picked the 5 or 6 sturdiest looking shoots, tied them to the wires and cut them back to 4 or 5 buds. I’ve heard recommended number of buds ranging from 2 to 5 and decided to try the higher. I was really excited to see how quickly actual grapes showed up on the vines this year. Note the main picture.

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