This is one of my favorite times of year because we are starting to harvest our organically-grown apples.
So far, we've picked the McIntosh and Gravenstein apples. Next will be the Jonagolds and finally, the Fujis.
I'll admit the apples don't look very impressive, sitting in the buckets above (click on the photo to see what I mean). But that's because the apples were sprayed in the spring with kaolin clay, a natural substance that helps keep the codling moths away from the apples.
My husband, Bill, has also been trying out a spray containing another natural substance, spinosad. The spray is called Bull's-Eye Bio-insecticide and we purchased it at Gardens Alive. Spinosad has been proven to be effective against codling moths and cherry fruit flies -- the two most troublesome orchard pests we have to deal with.
We also cover most of our apples with little nylon "footies" when they are about the size of a large marble. Yes, it's tedious to put those footies on them but our efforts pay off in that we have minimal codling moth damage each year.
Next year, Bill is considering trying only the Bio-insecticide spray on one or two trees, just to see how it works as a stand-alone treatment.
When we harvest the apples, they look rather gray and dull. But once we wash them and polish them up, I'm sure you'll agree they're gorgeous! These are the McIntosh apples and they are absolutely delicious. We even juiced a combination of the Macs, Gravensteins and a few Jonagolds and the juice is to die for!
If you are interested in reading more about the process we go through to raise our apples organically, here are a couple of blog posts you might find helpful:
Organic apple report