Greetings Apple Lovers:
The season has started and we are going full bore!! It is amazing how rapidly many varieties are ripening, ahead of the norm. Some are as early as 3 weeks, others look to be on a normal schedule, but who knows, been a pretty wild weather year so far.
It is only August and think we have been thru 10 or 15 varieties already…..and for this week an old time favorite returns….Akane, the Japanese variety that is a cross between a Jonathan and Indo, also known as the Tokyo Rose….Akane, from the Japanese word meaning “bright” don’t know if that was referring to the flavor or the color….but it is a good one. The flavor profile is not as tart as a Jonathan, but pleasant for those who like sweet or tart. Also this week will have Ginger Gold, an early season favorite that is zippy but a good blend of sweet and tart. Ginger Gold are awesome for apple sauce, juicing or fresh eating. Will have Redfree, an interesting apple developed by Purdue Univ. meant to be red in color and “free of disease,” they weren’t overly creative with that name! And we really haven’t seen them to be that disease free…but they sure taste good!! Look a bit like Akane, flavor along those lines too, but just a little more sweet. Some markets will have Dandee Red, also known as Early McIntosh, it is actually a limb sport of a McIntosh, so fairly tart, great for baking, sauce or just eating for those of you with the tart gene. Some markets will have Pristine, the small yellow apple with the lemon-citrus flavor. Many of you bought them last week and love them, that is why only a few markets will have them, they are just about gone. I can’t forget, will also have some Italian Plums, which are really good dark purple “prune” plums.
What a great weekend this will be at the U-Pick in Ault….here is what is on the menu to be picked, Mollies, one of my all time favorites….a bright red apple with just wonderful taste (sweet), the way apples are supposed to be….I like them better than Honeycrisp. Kindercrisp, very, very sweet and crisp variety, if it wasn’t for their size (small) this would be the rage of the apple world and no one would even know what a Honeycrisp even is. Pink Princess, which are pink fleshed, very spritely, crisp and tart, one of our more unusual ones, just have a handful of that variety, but for those who pick them, in for a treat. Pink Pearl, another pink fleshed variety, one of the few that you might actually see at a grocery store, have seen there at specialty stores once in a while. They too are pretty tart and with an interesting flavor and beautiful pink flesh. Akane, as mentioned above…the Japanese variety, we left a few on the trees for those who want to pick some, most of those are heading to markets and other outlets (cider maker). Strawberry Parfait, a really unusual variety that smells and tastes like strawberries (when speaking of apple flavors, they are subtle). The only down side to this variety is it tends to have a soft flesh, but the flavor is amazing. Harlson, a Univ. of Minnesota variety that is pretty large, tri colored and pretty tart, used for baking, sauce and cider. And last but not least….Zestar, another Univ. of Minnesota variety, one that I would describe as “zesty,” had them at the markets last week, a very popular early season variety, left on the tree an additional week, the zestiness has mellowed and the flavor is much stronger…..was pretty amazed at the flavor, may leave them on the tree longer in the future instead of picking early, love the zestiness, but the mellow flavor would make a crazy good cider. This line up may be the best weekend of the season for the U-pick, still have lots of other varieties, but this weekend has an awesome good lineup, especially for early season.
Will also be selling some really tasty Red Haven and Red Globe Peaches at the U-pick store for a great price of $40 for a 20 lb. box, as well as $6 & $10 baskets. Hope to see you at the markets and/or U-pick orchard/store.
Yahooooey! It's market time again! Yes, the markets begin this weekend and we are really excited about it. We made it thru a very difficult weather season (so far)….and hope the worst is behind us. My summer newsletter stated we had not been affected (yet) by the severe hail storms that were pounding the front range…..bad omen, we eventually got ours too!! So what that means is you will see some dings and dents and various cosmetic flaws on some of our fruit, hopefully no more than usual, we sort out the worst of it, but there are always some. It just comes down to which variety (some are more resistant than others) and which of our orchards it came from (some got it more than others). The good news is - we have fruit…..and a lot of it. Usually we start the markets somewhat slowly with just a couple of varieties. Not so much this year….got a great lineup for the opening weekend, partially due to the fact we are experiencing an early ripening by as much as two weeks early…it is a good thing!!
This week all markets will have:
Dandee Red Apples, a bright red variety that many call Early McIntosh, it is a McIntosh type or sort (genetic variant), just a little sweeter and firmer….in my opinion, better than McIntosh.
Ginger Gold, which are awesome! Ginger Gold are large sweet-tart yellow-green apples, great for sauce, cooking or fresh eating….just an excellent early season variety.
Pristine, I do love my Pristines, probably my favorite early season variety, just because I like the unusual and Pristines deliver that….they are yellow, generally pretty small (great lunch box size) and are sweet/tart and have a unique lemon/citrus flavor which is very unusual for an apple.
Zestar, a crisp and juicy tri color apple with a good sugar/acid balance, more on the tart side than sweet, a good storage apple for an early season apple, comes out of the same breeding program as Honeycrisp and looks somewhat similar.
Williams Pride, one of the best early season apples, highly rated for its sweet, rich, spicy flavor. Apples are dark red to almost purple with a rich aromatic flavor. Good for fresh eating, preserving and drying.
Early Italian Plums, a dark purple plum, many would call “prune” plums, good for fresh eating, baking and preserves, very similar to Italian Plums which we will have later in the season, just a little smaller and few weeks earlier….hence how they got the name. Whoever named them wasn’t overly creative! At least not compared to some of the apple names you see.
Some markets, but not all may have Summercrisp Pears, a small but sweet pear along the lines of Seckel or Sugar Pears, just have a limited number of those so not all markets will get them. The same goes for some additional apples, some markets may have a single box of an odd ball variety, or they may be at the U-Pick, just depends on how we load out the trucks and what I am thinking or not thinking at the time!
As for the U-pick….opened last weekend, thank you to those who came out to see it….this weekend the picking plan is for Ginger Gold, Williams Pride, Kindercrisp and Sansa…..soon to come will be Akane, Redfree and a host of others. Just a reminder, the U-Pick orchard is located in Ault, CO….about 25 miles east of Fort Collins. Directions are on the website. It is open Saturdays & Sundays 9-4.
As for the markets, I will not be attending. I will be at the U-pick operation all weekend but you will be in good hands with some new faces and some you are familiar with….Kenny (3rd yr) will once again run the Boulder Market, Josh (3rd yr) will again be at Downtown Fort Collins, Kit/Kevin (10 yr+) will be the anchors at Greeley, Maggie (3rd yr) will take over Sunday Fort Collins, Haley (6th yr) will assist with the U-Pick …..some new faces too….Austin will be at Longmont, Keegan at downtown Loveland, and Bob & Laura may be at any or all of the markets depending on the weekend. Looking forward to seeing you!
Greetings Everyone ,
The day is finally here where we open our U-pick operation! Seems like it has been an eternity in coming. There has been fruit in it for a few years but between weather events and just self-inflicted operational issues, we just haven’t had it together. Not sure I do this time either, but we are going forward!
Our “normal” operations will be Saturday & Sunday from 9 am - 4 pm. We will open this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 & 12 from 9-4pm. No reservations required! The U-Pick address is 42135 Weld Co Rd 43, Ault, CO. See website (www.masonvilleorchard.com) for map.
Highly probable will be open Saturdays and Sundays starting August 17. I say “probable” since this early in the season, the fruit ripening dictates our schedule. To answer your question “yes,” it is early… we picked some varieties at the end of July, a 1st for us… many of our varieties are 2 weeks ahead of normal, probably due to weather. So here is what we will have this week… U-pick apples, Pristine, Williams Pride, Dandee Red, State Fair & Zestar… and Summercrisp Pears. Will also have available for sale already picked Ubileen Pears, Summercrisp Pears, Early Italian Plums, Pristine Apples and some Red Haven Peaches. The Ubileen Pears and Early Italian Plums could not wait until the U-pick opened, we had to get them off the trees as they were dropping… picked a number of Summercrisp Pears, but there are some still left in the orchard. The Red Haven Peaches come from a friend of mine on the western slope, very nice peaches at a good price. U-pick prices: $10 per basket (roughly 5 lbs), $35 per ½ bushel, $60 per bushel…… 2nds for pressing $25 (limited supply).
Will also have our full line of Jams, Jelly, Preserves and Fruit Salsas available along with Papa Joe’s Honey (Loveland) and Rocky Mountain Salsa (Fort Collins). We do not sell foods/snacks but you are welcome to bring your own to munch on. We do have bottled water and soft drinks for sale.
There are a few rules for the U-pick and here they are:
(1) Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. Please pick up after your dogs.
(2) If you plan to purchase apples and press into cider, you must bring your own cider containers....a bushel is required to operate the press. 1 bushel of apples will produce between 2 - 3 gallons of cider (varies with variety).
(3) Park at the back of the orchard. The hay wagon will pick you up from the parking area and take you to the starting point (country store) for instructions on which line to pick.
(4) Have fun, it's an orchard!
(5) Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted.
(6) Whatever I make up along the way!!
For those of you who are interested in when we start our Farmer’s Markets in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont & Boulder… looks like we are targeting August 18th, assuming we can get enough help to get it rolling.
If you have any questions, let me know.
The U-Pick Orchard will open Saturday Aug 11th & Sunday Aug 12th, from 9 am - 4 pm, normal operations will be Fri, Sat, Sun, but early in the season (Aug) it may vary due to available fruit, check the website each week for hours.
Rules for the U-Pick
(1) Dogs are welcome but must be on a lease.
(2) Pick up after your dog.
(3) If you plan to purchase apples and press into cider, you must bring your own containers....a bushel is required to operate the press 1 bushel of apples will produce between 2.5 and 3 gallons of cider.
(4) Park at the back of the orchard, the hay wagon will pick you up from the parking area and take you to the starting point (country store)
(5) Have fun, its an orchard!
(6) Checks, cash and Credit cards are accepted
42135 County Road 43
Ault, Colorado 80610
The U-Pick Orchard is located on Weld Co Road 43, 3 miles north of HWY 14 and just north of Weld Co Roads 86 & 43, on the west side of the road.
Though it is still a while before we start our Farmer’s Markets, thought it would be a good time to update you on the current “happenings in the orchard.” First of all, check out our website, it had a major overhaul by someone who knows what they are doing (i.e. obviously not me!!). Let me know what you think. One thing you will notice is a new section on hard cider. Though we are not producing it ourselves, there has been a resurgence in hard cider making by both individuals with a passion for it and by commercial operations jumping on the latest trend...am sure all of you have seen the million Redd’s Apple Ale commercials on tv. We have interacted with and sold to various individuals making hard cider, small start up cidery’s, fairly large operations and everything in between. We like to think we play a small role in their success. One in particular we have partnered with is Haykin Family Cider in Aurora, CO. They just opened their tap room in February so pay them a visit when you have a chance...what makes them unique is they make a number of ciders using some of our unusual varieties such as Akane, Scarlet Surprise, Sansa rather than blends...small batch craft/individual varieties...pretty neat. We also had a plan to sell bottles of their cider at the U-pick orchard/country store in Ault, which requires a fair amount of review and approval by the ATF, CO liquor Board, etc...once we got thru the big hurdles with the ATF & Liquor Board, thought we had it pretty much done...wrong! Weld Co has a review process that dwarfs the others and basically made it too costly to pursue, just to put a bottle on a shelf…sounds ridiculous, but true. But you can enjoy their ciders at their operation/tap room in Aurora.
So far, I say with caution…mother nature has cooperated and not punished us (or anyone else) with a hard freeze during bloom time, so fruit production this year across the state should be pretty good, a stark contrast to last year which was tough for everyone. We anticipate opening our U-pick orchard/country store near Ault, CO this year which should be fun. There is a good chance we will do some limited openings (weekends) prior to our full blown season to sell cherries, peaches, jams, jellies, etc. to get a better feel for how to operate it...those will not be U-pick items, just sold from the store. Our normal season starts mid to late August and this year may have enough fruit to make it thru Thanksgiving, things look pretty good as of today. As many of you know, that can change quickly with a hail storm or other weather event.
That’s about it for now...will keep you updated on our progress and if we open the store before the markets.
PS: I wrote this on Monday evening before the catastrophic hail storms hit the state Tuesday afternoon and evening...miraculously, we were not impacted significantly, a few hail dings here and there, but nothing like what was seen across the state...got lucky this time!