FAQs about our Growing Practices:
Can I use mating disruption in my home orchard?
Maybe. Mating disruption works well on a large scale. The goal is to have the insect's scent (pheromone) in abundance so that they cannot locate each other to mate and reproduce. If you have a small orchard you may only succeed in attracting more insects to your small plot.
Read more about mating disruption here.
Are you certified organic?
No, however we use many of the same growing practices as organic growers. IPM allows the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other materials made from synthetic materials when necessary. Organic certification programs largely restrict allowable pesticides to those made from natural materials. Pesticides used in organic programs can also have harmful effects on humans, animals and the environment, and must be used carefully and only when needed. In our orchard we focus on creating an environment that encourages the growth and development of biological controls that naturally help us control pests.
Do you spray?
According to the IPM protocol, spraying is used as a last resort when other methods of pest control fail. We use bug trapping and try to create an environment in which the beneficial insects (lady beetles, spiders, lacewings, predatory wasps, ect.) can thrive and help us control the destructive pests. If we do spray, all of the pesticides that we use fall in a reduced risk category which means they have a low impact on human health, lower toxicity to non target organisms (e.g., birds, fish, plants), low potential for groundwater contamination, low use rates, and low pest resistance potential.
The orchard is looked at and treated as an ecosystem as opposed to the “one size fits all” method of controlling pest and diseases in conventional growing, usually by spraying. IPM takes into account the geography, climate, pests, and diseases that our farm specifically has to deal with and then looks at any available biological controls (beneficial insects), soil health, and nutritional support for our trees, enabling us to deal with pests and diseases in a way that is safe for everyone and everything in the orchard.
Not only are chemicals expensive to apply and purchase, we work in the orchard and we do not want expose ourselves to harmful pesticides. Therefore, we try to be as diligent as possible in trying to prevent pests from reaching a point at which we need to spray.
FAQs about our Produce:
What is the difference between clingstone, freestone, and semi-freestone?
Freestone, cling stone, cling free, stone free... However you find yourself wording it - this is one of our most commonly asked questions. These terms are all used to describe whether or not the flesh of a particular fruit seperates easily from the seed or not, and is most commonly referenced with peaches, but can be used to describe any fruit. Freestone is sometimes mistaken to be the name of a peach; however, it is only a quality that a peach does or does not have.
Whether or not a peach is Freestone has less to do with what variety it is and more to do with where we are in peach season. Early peaches are Cling stone, gradually they become semi-freestone in mid to late July. By the time August rolls around and peak peach season most all peaches are completely Freestone.
Cling Stone: If a peach is cling stone, this means that the peach fruit will “cling” or stick to the “stone” aka seed. If you want to slice up a peach that is cling stone, you will have to carefully carve the flesh away from the seed. Because of this, cling stone peaches are great for picking up and eating fresh, but not so much for slicing, canning, etc… The first peaches of the growing season are cling stone, but are much loved because of their summery peachy flavor. Clingstone Peaches: early Desiree, early Flaming Fury (early to mid July) Other Fruits: early Nectarines, Sugar Plums, Shiro Plums.
Semi-Freestone: As we move into the peach season, peaches will gradually become semi-freestone. This means that some peaches may come off of the seed relatively well when cut, others may not at all. Either way, chances are you will not be able to cut the peach in half and twist it off, or sometimes even quarter them off. Our advice for cutting up semi-freestone peaches is to make sure that they are ripe (let them set out for a day or two after purchase to soften up) and then quarter and slice off 1/8th wedges. More likely than not this will enable you to get most of the peach off of the seed easily. In our observation, hotter and drier growing seasons encourage peaches to become freestone earlier in the season, while wetter years do the opposite. Semi-Freestone fruit: Desiree, Flaming Fury, Century, Early Red Haven. Other Fruits: Santa Rosa Plums, Castleton Plums, some Apricots, some Pluots.
Freestone: When a peach is freestone this means that the fruit separates easily from the seed, enabling you to cut a peach in half to remove the seed. We encourage people to wait a few weeks into peach season to begin canning and freezing peaches because of this. Red Haven are the first Freestone peach variety of the season, but even the first few pickings of them tend to cling to the stone a bit, especially on wetter years. Typically by the first week of August all peaches are Freestone. Freestone Peach varieties: Late Red Haven, SunHi, John Boy, Contender, Coral Star, Gloria, Redskin, Autumn Glo, Laurel, Donut Peaches. Other fruits: Prune Plums, mid and late season Nectarines, most Apricots, most Pluots.