We will be set up for tasting of 20+ apples, making and serving cider and other food products from the farm. Noon until dusk both days.

Apples at Skipley Farm are beginning to yield with a precocity that rivals any standard.

With 4500 lineal feet of trellised apples in a block of apples growing 80 varieties on Budagosky-9 rootstock(dwarf to 10 feet) and about 2 pounds per running foot of apples, there are 9000 pounds of fruit to be experienced. Wettish year, clay-loam soil, 1st Kaolin Clay spray (‘Surround’) was delivered august 16th for apple maggot;<1% coddling moth at this point-next gen to be interrupted with clay, possibly. Kaolin is a silica-based finely ground clay that inhibits insect activity up-to 95% when applied consistently. Compost teas (Nettles, Comfrey, Horsetail, provides the silica component, and penetrant supplied by garlic according to Michael Phillips, author of Holistic Orcharding

Blueberries-Legacy variety, mulberries, Blackberries & Apples: the sauce/pie Lodi, crispy Pristine, multipurpose & high flavor Gravenstein and William’s Pride, juicy Summerred, front end of complex/spicy Zestar!

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Apples 101: Wednesday Aug 9th, 16th, 23rd – 5:30pm — 8:30pm see classesClasses-Tours

A window in time is now – for 2 more weeks – the practice of ‘budding’ – a quick grafting technique for making apple trees. Watch and engage- see budding at Skipley Farm: Make your own- 10 tree apple “fence” (espalier) trees in an hour.                                       Gil will give an apple tree lesson from “start to finish”; make baby trees for your future site, hear and taste a few of the top 20 varieties that grow in Western Washington. Learn about SOIL health, beneficial insects, training-all while grafting/budding.

$125pp, $200 couple Cider, apples, cheese, provided. Call Gil for your spot in time.

 

Blueberries, Blackberries, early Pristine apples

Fathers day weekend is our first fruit of the season. Open 9 to 6.  

Espalier Crimson Crisp

Espalier Crimson Crisp

An apple hedge is ridiculously simple. 1. Stake it out 2. Plant it 3. Wait a few years 4. Pick, eat, store through the winter.

The system here in this photo is mostly neglect. First plant a nursery of dwarf rootstock 3’x10″ apart -count on loosing 10% to voles (large underground field mice),  dig out damaged trees and replant 3′ apart down a row-in this instance 20 Crimson Topaz. After they get 3-4′ high tie them over to the base of the next tree or to the base of the second tree over if too tall, now they sprout at the high point and you repeat the tie procedure -let grow up 4’+then tie over. The trees in the photo are 6 years old, 2-3 feet high, bore about 75# last year are growing on bud -9 dwarf rootstock.

Planning is a winter task

Scionwood of 100 varieties and limited rootstock. See Scionwood, rootstock page. The collection is to share. Fees partially support the time.

Scionwood is cut and offered for a small donation at local Fruit Growing organizations as well-typically in March. It is a fundraiser from generous members’ own collections.

Late apples like Goldrush, Suncrisp, Enterprise could be hanging…but they’re picked! Medlar is another that hangs late until freezing temps begin to break the starch down to sugar known as bletted. The fruit was important as a winter food during Roman times. Today it will be eons before it gains that stature.

Today, 19th October, we have fresh and frozen (always available) Cider, and what is left to pick in the field are rough Braeburns, Quince, 30# Hudson’s Golden Gem, Rubinette. There are a few hundred pounds of drops/gleaners. $5/person, includes 2 1/2 # basket each that you can fill with picking or fruit from our stand or just come to visit the animals! They are a delight to visit and appreciate the company-especially the 2 month old goats!

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My favorite apple so far…the homely brown ones in the photo. Some years it fails. This years it stands up to the best of the intensely flavored apples, like Belle de Boskoop (below), Karmijn de Sonneville, Ashmead’s Kernal, Spitzenburg and Crimson Topaz. With its fissured, coarsely russetted calyx it produces an evening glow of amber dressed with gold fleck and a carmine blush. Tart and exotic, zingy when first picked, mellowing over a few days to a balanced cidery meal. The thick breaking crumb cake skin yields nicely despite its roughness. It goes soft in a few weeks. The challenge is cropping…these apples consistently bear light crops, often a quarter of say Honeycrisp or Jonagold, thus as low a price I can muster.

Heirloom apple Belle de Boskoop, pie, sauce, fresh

Heirloom Belle de Boskoop

I have picked apples of the above five varieties for the affordable price of $4.50/pound, no volume discounts. The reason the higher price is due to the low yield on these particular varieties. I do sell trees so get growing!

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