Carter Orchards

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    Varieties grown
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    Apple recipes

Blog 2013

July 17, 2013

     We held our final harvest pay day and party today.
Waiting for checks

July 16, 2013

     We finished picking today. Throughout harvest we all look forward to it being over, but it is always sad when the end actually arrives. Overall, it was a rough year. We picked fewer ton than average, we sorted out a significant portion of the fruit (and threw it on the ground), and we had lower packouts than we do in a typical year. Here are some pictures from the last couple of days.
More sorting
End of day!

July 15, 2013

     We picked Sweethearts today. The cherries on the trees on the south slope had lots of sun damage, but the cherries from the top and from the gulley were pretty good!

July 14, 2013

     And now the answers!

     1) We grow Regina cherries in the "Apple Block." However, we used to have Red Delicious apples in that block.

     2) We grow Lapins in the "Anne Hill." As you could probably guess, we used to have Royal Annes there.

     3) There are 22 rows in the orchard named "13 rows." Today we plant trees much closer together than was done historically. This means more cherries per acre, but also means we need more water (for irrigation) per acre and smaller tractors.

July 13, 2013

     We are waiting for the Sweethearts and Stacatto to ripen. We will be off tomorrow too. Since we are not picking, here are some Carter Orchards trivia questions.

     1) What kind of fruit do we grow in the "Apple Block"?

     2) What variety of cherries do we grow in the "Anne Hill"?

     3) How many rows are there in the orchard named "13 rows"?

July 12, 2013

     We picked the rest of the Regina.

July 11, 2013

     A day off from picking! We used the day to prepare for the rest of harvest and to get caught up on a number of nonharvest items.

July 10, 2013

     We picked around 30 ton of Regina today. The quality remains excellent. It was a short day because the next block isn't ripe yet.

July 9, 2013

     We picked just over 60 ton of Regina today. It was a good day. The cherry quality was excellent and the trees were loaded, so the pickers were able to pick a lot of buckets (and make a lot of money)! It felt good to finally be picking some quality cherries this year.
Dumping fruit
Dumping with a view
Some culls
Ticket check

July 8, 2013

     We quit picking fresh Rainiers today and picked the remaining Rainiers for brine. Tomorrow we will start picking the Reginas. They look great on the tree. The entire crew is looking forward to picking quality fruit again. We haven't picked any high quality cherries since before the rain.

July 7, 2013

     We continued picking freezers and started picking fresh Rainiers at the home place. The Rainiers look very good, probably the best we've picked all season.

July 6, 2013

     We finished picking Rainiers (both canners and fresh) at the Davis place. That means we have finished picking at the Davis place for the year. It was a rough year, but we are hopeful that the prices are high enough that they will offset the weather damaged fruit we picked. We started picking freezers at the home place as well.

July 5, 2013

     Eight groups finished off the Skeena at the home place today. We picked fresh Rainiers at the Davis place. They are quite ripe, but they look good and taste great! We also picked some canner Rainiers at Davis.

July 4, 2013

     Well, the quality of the Skeena was worse than we thought. We were just barely able to make grade. Lots of damage from the rain and from the heat we had earlier in the week. We did pick all of our Schneiders (26 bins). They looked pretty good.

July 4, 2013 (Early morning)

     Happy Fourth of July! It looks like it is going to be cooler day so we should be able to pick all day! We're going to try and pick all of our Schneiders today. We're also going to start picking Skeena. Unfortunately, we are going to have to seriously sort the Skeena as we pick them.

July 3, 2013

     We picked Lapins until we finished all that we have. We picked 60 ton. The Lapin quality was much better than the Bings, so we weren't sorting. It almost felt like a real day!

July 2, 2013

     We finished picking the Bings we are going to pick for fresh this year and we started to pick Lapins. We picked 55 ton even though we shut down at 12:30 due to the heat. We were picking in four different blocks, so it was a crazy day for our tractor drivers!

July 1, 2013

     Today was the hottest day we've had yet. It was 75 this morning at 6:15 when it rained for about ten minutes. Not enough rain to do any damage to the cherries, but just enough to make the humidity terrible. It was 100 degrees in the shade at 4pm. We continued to pick Bings and we started picking Lapins today. We should finish fresh Bings tomorrow and will make significant progress in the Lapins. Here's some pictures!
Morning meeting
Raining and 75 degrees
More sorting
Lunch line
100 degrees in the shade!

June 30, 2013

     These last four days have been rough. The quality of the Bings we are trying to pick is low because of rain damage. We are paying the pickers a 40% bonus to partially sort out the bad cherries as they pick. We then have additional sorters at each bin who sort out the bad cherries the pickers missed. We are still having a difficult time making grade, but we've done well enough so far. It's getting more and more difficult because we are behind. We lost three days of picking due to rain. Plus, the last couple of days have been hot, so we've had to stop picking around 1pm (instead of our normal 3pm). We are picking some trees with over ripe fruit. We hope to get caught up again later this week.

June 25, 2013 (Part 2)

     Today was supremely eventful, especially considering we didn't pick any cherries. One of the helicopters drying our trees had mechanical issues and had to make an emergency landing on an orchard road. We pulled the helicopter out with a tractor and loaded it on to one of our trucks. It was raining so hard at some points today that there was minor flooding in town!
Helicopter in the orchard
Loading the truck
Finally on the truck!
Flooding in town
Spraying and wind machine
Splitting cherries

June 25, 2013

     Off due to rain. It is pouring right now. Lots of damage to the Bings. Not a good day to be a cherry farmer. At least the rain gives me a chance to update the blog. Here are some recent pictures!
JD after Seattle U's graduation
JD after a day of orchard work
Wind machine drying the trees
The home place
Picking Bings!
Pulling out a stuck car

June 24, 2013

     Didn't pick today because it was raining. The rain actually started last night around 7 when we were paying the crew. We spent all day turning the wind machines on and off in order to dry the trees and cherries between rain storms. The spray guys have been spraying Rainguard and calcium to help prevent the cherries from splitting. Our Bings are getting hit pretty hard, but our later fruit seems to be hanging in there pretty well. We are hopeful that it stops raining soon so that we don't lose many more cherries.

June 23, 2013

     We picked over 90 ton of Bings today at the home place. It was a long day. The trucks were still delivering fruit to the packing houses well after 6. Technically, we're supposed to have our fruit delivered by 4, but they let us pick late due to the upcoming rain threat. Cross your fingers that we don't get any more rain!

June 22, 2013

     We finished picking Bings at the Davis place today. The crop is lighter than we expected, but we are picking it earlier than we usually would do to the fact that it might rain in a couple of days.

June 21, 2013

     We picked 50 or so ton of Bings at the Davis place today. Good day. Fruit quality looks very good, much better than what we were picking at the start of the year.

June 20, 2013

     Half of the crew finished picking in Dallesport today. We picked Bings and Vans for fresh and Rainiers for brine. The other half of the crew picked Bings at the Davis place. The fruit we are picking is definitely on the green side, but the packing houses are screaming for more cherries. There is a shortage and the prices are high! We shut down a little after noon because the fruit was too green.

June 19, 2013

     It was a pretty normal day at the Migaki place in Dallesport. I wore a cheap little pedometer today and it says that I took 22,000 steps! I wonder how many total steps I take throughout the six or so weeks of harvest. We picked Bings all day and made some good progress.

June 18, 2013

     We started picking Bings at the Migaki place today. We used the entire crew of 192 pickers. It felt good to finally have the whole crew up and running. Hopefully we'll be able to pick with the entire crew for 8-10 days straight. But, it all depends on the weather.

June 17, 2013

     Finished picking Early Robbins today. The quality of the fruit we picked today was decent. We can definitely tell that the rain damaged the late fruit a lot less than the early fruit.

June 16, 2013

     Picked Early Robbins for fresh at the Davis Place with just over 30 pickers. We have lots of sorters helping keep the quality high. We've heard that the prices are high, so we're hopeful all of our extra work will pay off.

June 15, 2013

     Day off from picking because there are no ripe cherries!

June 14, 2013

     We finished picking Tietons at the Davis place today. We moved all of the harvest equipment to Dallesport because we will start picking Bings over there sometime early next week.
Taking a break from sorting
A row in the morning

June 13, 2013

     Today we finished picking Chelans at the Davis place. The Chelan crop was very light and, to make things even worse, there was a high percentage of Chelans with rain damage. We started picking Tietons right after we finished the Chelans. They look much better! This is surprising because Tieton's are usually much more sensitive to the weather. We also picked around 200 pounds of Rainiers for fresh and 4,000 pounds for brine. We did this as a test in order to help us decide what to do with the rest of them.

June 12, 2013

     Continued picking Chelans.

June 11, 2013

     We picked more Chelans today with just under 100 pickers. The quality remains about the same, there are lots of cracked cherries in the orchard. Fortunately, our Chelans are still worth picking (after lots of field sorting). We've heard stories of other orchards not picking their Chelans due to too many cracks.

June 10, 2013

     We started picking Chelans at the Davis place today. There are lots of cracked cherries, but we are sorting like crazy in hopes that we can get good packouts. We had about 90 pickers today. Hopefully we'll have more than that tomorrow. We need to finish picking the Chelans so that we can move on to the Tietons and then Bings!

May 29, 2013

     It has been raining quite a bit the last couple of days. The Chelans and Tietons and the Davis place are starting to split. Fortunately, the Bings are still too green to split. Let's hope that this is the last of the rain until the end of harvest.
Tietons splitting in the rain
Chelans splitting
Green bings

Blogs from previous years