The Rhythm of the Orchard

Springtime, of course, is when orchards spring to life with buds forming as the weather warms in March and April.

Spraying of organic oils takes place before blossoms explode. The organic oils used are for both fungus and insect prevention and control.

The fruit trees will all bloom between mid-April and mid-May, with tart cherries the first to bloom, followed by sweet cherries, peaches, pears and all of the apple varieties.

After the blossom petals drop, the fruit starts to form (or “set”) and leaves begin to come out. Over the growing season, a good deal of time is spent mowing the orchard grass, monitoring and treating insect and fungus infestations with various means, including spraying insecticides and fungicides.

Tart and sweet cherries and peaches ripen in the early part of the summer, during June and July. Blueberries and grapes ripen in mid- to late-summer, from late June to late August. Pears ripen in late August to September, and apples begin to ripen in late August and continue through October.

At the end of the harvest, we spray organic oil on the trees and nitrogen under the trees to prevent overwintering insects and fungi.

Late winter and early spring are the times when most major pruning of the trees, vines and bushes takes place. It is important to prune trees every year to promote vigorous growth of fruit-bearing wood.

With respect to spraying, we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), as most orchards do. IPM is a combination of using "naturally" occurring and "synthetic" organic materials to prevent or control insects and fungus. We also concentrate on pruning and maintaining a clean orchard floor to minimize the presence of insects or fungus. We minimize the number of times we spray each year and spray only when we must do so.

We are not "organic." Please understand that growing "organic" fruit does not mean that fruit is not sprayed. Rather, it means that only naturally-occurring organic insecticides and fungicides are used. Many "organic" and non-synthetic materials are in fact very harsh and can damage the trees and fruit if not used properly.

Norman's Orchard is certified by the Produce Safety Alliance. That means we take steps to provide produce safety and good agricultural practices in compliance with FDA regulations:

     1) Cleanliness and sanitation practices are used.

     2) Toilet and hand washing facilities are available.

     3) Pets are not permitted in the orchard or in the Apple Barn.