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Apple varities on a new farm

Posted by Tom MacIntosh 
Apple varities on a new farm
May 06, 2018 08:45PM

I am a new farmer and new to this forum.
As the Orchard Manager for Paradise Fields Farm I have designed a heritage orchard to meet the needs of our local community.
Broken down by year of planting.
I am seeking advice on each variety.
Any advice big or small, any question big or small, will help, and I could use the help. I am a new young farmer.

Apple 2016 Dwarf
Nova Spy
Red Cheif
Red Free

Apple 2017 High Density
Honey Crisp

Apple 2018 High Density
Golden Delicous
Sweet 16
McIntosh 1st Generation
Rhode Island Greening
Grimes Golden
Ben Davis
Winter Banana
St. Lawrence
Maidens Blush
Pink Princess

Crabapple 2018 High Density

Apple 2019 High Density
Crimson Crisp
Glowing Heart
Black Oxford
Williams Pride
Ginger Gold
Sweet Bough
Wolf River
Yellow Transparent
Granny Smith
Golden Russet
Ashmeads Kernel
Callville Blanc Dhiver
Hooples Antique Gold
Hidden Rose
Pink Pearmain
Pink Pearl

Tom MacIntosh
Orchard Manager Paradise Fields
Hamilton Ontario Zone 6a
Re: Apple varities on a new farm
May 06, 2018 11:58PM
Can you be more specific as to what sort of advice you are looking for? For example, is it useful to you if I tell you that William's Pride is an excellent apple, (taste, scab resistance), but in my orchard (Nova Scotia, zone 5b), it is unusually prone to nectria canker? Or that in my experience, Sweet Bough isn't worth growing? (blah taste, disease prone, keeps only a week or two). Wolf River is a good cooking apple, (although nowhere near as good as Bramley Seedling), but even on a dwarfing rootstock, (and it would be useful if you were to be specific as to what stock you are using), it is going to be a long time before you get fruit on this tree. (I think I got my first fruit from my tree, which is on Ottawa-3, 8 years after planting. Ashmead's Kernel - check the accuracy of ID on this one. I got my scion wood directly from the Canadian Germplasm Repository in Harrow. It isn't Ashmead's. (But one doesn't know this until years later, when it fruits.) Snow: mild flavour, harmless but only thing going for it IMHO is its nice white flesh, from which it gets its name, (if white flesh is considered important.)

But probably more important to note is that tastes in apples differ very widely, (so my assessments will not be shared by others), and furthermore the apples themselves will behave quite differently in different terroirs

It would also be helpful if you were to be more specific in what you mean by "high density" plantings, in terms of advice on management.

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Apple varieties on a new farm
May 07, 2018 03:43PM
I'm all for this broad shot at fruit cultivar commentary, Tom . . . but might suggest separate threads on specific cultivars is a surer way of drawing out nuance of growing habit, thinning intensity, flavor profile based on soil type, rootstock influence, and special challenges. Such threads start with the grower sharing lessons learned and whatever observations about a specific vareity. Claude and Todd have been the primary drivers of the varietal sections of the forum and I expect will have some thoughts on what works best.

Maybe the virtue in here lies in examining this selection of apple cultivars from the perspective of marketing flow. That would require ordering the cultivars by harvest date and having some sense of proportion (how many trees of each) and thus harvest amounts. A previous post on best varieties ... or those to avoid? brought forth a few good marketing insights, including the pie pack. Still, conversations with a more defined premise from the start are better at drawing out observations over time.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2018 05:33PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Apple varieties on a new farm
May 07, 2018 05:20PM
Michael Phillips Wrote:
> Claude and Todd have been the primary drivers of this section of the forum and I
> expect will have some thoughts on what works best.

Both Todd and I are in much colder climate and harsher soil conditions, and we also both grow our trees on large rootstocks and extensive layouts... Hence I don't think our experiences will be very relevant for Tom. Many of the varieties mentioned won't grow or fruit (at least for me).
I will however second David's comment about William's Pride, a fantastic early apple, but unfortunalely quite prone to canker.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Author, The New Cider Maker's Handbook
Re: Apple varities on a new farm
May 09, 2018 01:51AM
All of the listed above advice is helpful. Advice on flavour, growth habits, disease, insects, Everything helps!!

The high density system we are using is untreated cedar posts spaced 30ft apart within row between each row is 13ft. The trees are spaced 3ft apart within row. 5 wires, starting at 2ft off ground for Irragation.

We are woodchipping the weed free strip and planting companion plants at each trellis post and along end rows at anchor points.

Each variety listed above represents a row of apples planted in high density. Average tree per row is 150. Some many many rows, our largest selection is of Honeycrisp, gala, crimson crisp, goldrush, Williams pride, ashmeads kernel and golden russet.

All of the trees are planted on B9 rootstock.

Soil is clay loam.

My biggest concern is the disease and insect management. My next biggest concern is the varying growth habits of each tree.

Marketing, previous posts on marketing have been very helpful, we are selling all our #1 Apple's at our on farm market within these #1s we will sort out some B grades for baking and culinary uses and #2 Apple's are being wholesaled the Greater Toronto Food bank under a system similar to our vegetable operation. ( *note This is more of a community support model than a profit model) #3 Apple's are off to the cider press!

Our goal is to support the community through access to local organic fruit. The way in which we hope to achieve this is generate excitement thru a diversified fruit portfolio, have specialty fruits for snacking and Apple's for fresh eating, baking and cider. For snacking we are offering some smaller edible crabs ie frostbite and wickson as well as fruits including strawberries, raspberries, haskaps and hardy kiwi.
We hope that by encouraging fresh fruit snacking we can encourage market growth an revenues.

Not a lot of love for sweet bough, I've consulted with a few ppl and similar opinions so we won't be expanding that row!

Since tastes are so widespread it is good to hear what different ppl think about each. Since we are just starting our operation we plan to expand what works and shrink back what does not.

We are very open to all new varities and to see what works and does not work for us on our site.

Thanks for all the advice I hope to see more comments even if it is just don't like the taste of x or love the taste of x or x is a surefire source of scab.

We are also interested in the history of the heritage Apple's so for Apple's like snow it's the story not the taste that has attracted us.

Tom MacIntosh
Orchard Manager Paradise Fields
Hamilton Ontario Zone 6a
Re: Apple varities on a new farm
May 15, 2018 08:19AM
Our situation and terroir is so different that I don't dare comment about taste or pests or performance, but I strongly second what Michael suggests above of making a marketing flow chart or graph so you make sure your harvest quantities are spread relatively evenly throughout the season and in each week you have a varied selection of flavors and colors and uses as well as some modern and some heirloom. We have about 100 varieties now, and when I first did this exercise, I found we had lots (maybe too many) early ones, lots of late ones ( but not too many because they keep well) and a gap sort of in the middle. This is important for labor flow also.

There are some articles by Ian Merlin that are helpful about varieties in the Northeast also.

One more thing is that although the heirloom apples are wonderfully quirky in looks and flavor, at a farm or market stand the biggest sellers are round red apples. Probably a higher proportion of them to russets, crabs, or green ones is worthwhile.

Fruitilicious Farm
Zone 9b in California
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