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Question about growing apples for market?

Posted by farmwife 10 (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 7, 07 at 12:31

I would like to do things differently this year. I inherited 10 old golden delicious apple trees when I purchased our homeplace. Each year we have lots of apples, needless to say and aside from eating, juicing and giving away as many as we can, most go to waste.

I don't imagine these are great apples for market sales as they don't seem to have a long shelf life (although I do not know how this is judged either.) So I am guessing the best end product for our apples will be juice. (By the way, they are very tasty, sweet apples.)

I wonder if there is anyone out there who could explain how they harvest their apples. I don't want to purchase more tree ladders and all the equipment necessary to harvest all the apples. I can see getting the help harvesting them all, but am set back at the thought of buying the equipment.

Are there companies that come and do this for a share of the apples? Also what about getting my apples pressed for juice? Are there companies that do this as well?

Thanks in advance for any advice, Kate

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Question about growing apples for market?

you could go to the local farmers market and see if one of the vendors there is interested in picking them and selling them.

RE: Question about growing apples for market?

I'd check into your state's regulations about selling juice. There has been a tremendous clamp down on selling unpasturized fruit juice since that outbreak of E. coli in juice killed a child. It would be easier to sell apple butter, apple pies, apple sauce from local farmer's market than juice.

RE: Question about growing apples for market?

Not having seen your trees, I can only guess that they are ungrafted, full size apple trees. This creates a bit of a problem to begin offering help with. Ladders are probably the best suggestion, although they will require you or someone else to climb them. If I were to suggest hiring a picker and you agree then I'd also followup by advising that you hire a pruner this winter to severely prune these trees to make them more manageable. Over the long range your plans should include replanting dwarf or semi-dwarf trees that will only require a stepladder.

One wise elderly orchardist told me (responding to my passive concern of apple scab) that it just doesn't pay to grow cider apples. Many orchards spray 20 or more times during a season to produce an apple that the public will accept. If you can find a profitable niche with your apples you would be one in 100 to do so. Some people make a few bucks selling deer apples to sportsmen. A value added product like apple dumplings or applebutter may succeed.

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