September 2011

September 2011

Fantastic Pears:  The pear crop is looking really fantastic.  We picked the 'Williams' in August, and selling them in September, and this month we will pick the 'Conference' to sell through October and November.  The last to be picked are the 'Concorde', later in September, for selling through to February, or until sold out.  Pears are a very tricky fruit to get just right, and that's what we aim to do.  They are ready to harvest when they are on the cusp of ripening and softening, and we then store them cold until they are required to be eaten.  We then remove them from the cold store and they then ripen to perfection in about a week. At our Farmers' Markets we hope to have a selection of 'ready to eat' pears and 'ready to ripen' pears. The 'ready to ripen' ones are still hard and crunchy (some people like them like that), but when they sit in the kitchen for a few days they ripen to perfection.  You just need to watch out for the change in colour and the slight softening of the stalk end of the fruit to catch them when they are just right.

New Field:  This month sees further work on preparing the new field for planting the new orchard and vineyard in the Spring.  We cleaned out the old ditches around the field, which had not been cleaned in decades; we dug a new open ditch around the upper boundary of the field, and we put in a deep piped drain through the lower wetter part of the field.  Once the fruit trees are planted, we wont be able to do anything further to drain the field, so it is vital that everything is done at this stage to improve the soil and the drainage of the field.

Grapes:  This month is the start of the grape picking.  We've got the Dunkelfelder, Schoenburger, and Rondo ready, and also the Sauvignon Blanc.  Its also time to do the main bunch thinning on the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, whereby we remove up to 30 or 40% of the bunches in order to improve the quality of the remaining crop.

Hurricane Katya:  The remnants of Hurricane Katya swept across Ireland, and gave some very windy weather on the East Coast, which on Monday 12th tore the polythene cover off our Cherry Tunnel. It isn't an immediate problem for the crops in the tunnel, but it is an expensive job to repair the damage.

Quince Harvest:  We harvested the quinces towards the end of the month, and after we sell a very limited quantity at the Market Stall, we are making amazing quince jelly with the rest. If there is time, I'd like to make some membrillo as well. We'll see.

Fruit and Vine
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