Jan. 04, 2023

Orchard Update: Episode 52 - Looking Ahead

2022 was an odd year in the orchards. During both the bloom and harvest windows in Washington State, Brutal weather had many growers worried about the crop quality. Thankfully, with some help from the beautiful summer weather that our region is known for, the 2022 apple crop ended up with excellent flavors and eating experiences. However, the volume was slightly lower than usual.

Dave Gleason says, "It's been a little while" since we've caught up with him to check on the trees and orchard operations. Dave is a busy guy, like all farmers, but we were able to spend a few hours with him between the Holidays to squeeze in an Orchard Update.

Every year is different when you're working with Mother Nature. This year, many of the apple trees in Washington State still have abundant leaves on them. Usually, the tree will absorb the nutrients from the leaves in the fall, and as the leaves change colors, they drop from the limbs. Due to a significant drop in temperature over a few days in late fall, the leaves were more-or-less "frozen" to the trees as they were about to release. It's rare and looks weird, but it doesn't impact the tree or new buds. As temperatures warm up and the tree pushes nutrients into the new buds, the old leaves will fall off, and the cycle continues.

Little spurs on each limb are buried in all those leaves that indicate where new buds will form this spring. Gleason explains that by inspecting the insides of these spurs, we can glimpse the upcoming crop. Armed with his incredibly sharp Benchmade knife and a handy-dandy monocle passed down to him by his dad, Dave cuts into the spur and reveals the very early stage of an apple.

While the trees may look dead (especially with all the leaves still), there is undoubtedly life inside each limb - we think everyone, including the trees, is excited to see the upcoming crop. Here's to a New Year!