Oct. 09, 2017

2017 Bloom Season in the Superfresh Orchards

An intense spring bloom has ensured a healthy feast for bees as they pollinate the Superfresh Growers® apple, pear, cherry, and apricot orchards. In the spring of 2017, Chief Horticulturist Dave Gleason commented that the aromas of all the blossoms were “intoxicating.” On days like these, the Superfresh team went out into the orchards to capture some of the magic in springtime.

Bees are busy at work in April and May, pollinating each blossom that will become a cherry, apple, pear, or apricot. Many fruit varieties must be cross-pollinated and rely on bees to set the crop for harvest. As bees travel from flower to flower searching for nectar, they brush up against the pollen on the flower’s stamen. Pollen clings to the bee and is later transferred to other blooms as the bee searches for more nectar. Bees visit 10-15 flowers per minute, up to 5,000 flowers daily! They are responsible for approximately 90% of the pollination of fruit trees.

During bloom season, the Superfresh Growers orchard team hand thins blossoms, pulling off unneeded flowers. “A tree will bloom way more flowers than it can handle if they all become apples,” describes Gleason. “We only need one percent of the flowers for a full crop. If all the flowers stayed on the trees and produced apples, the apples would stay very small as they compete for tree nutrients.” The Superfresh team picks off outside blooms, leaving the king bloom, which will produce a more significant-sized apple.