Please read this newsletter carefully and save for future reference as crop conditions vary greatly from season to season.
Please Note: We have a new retail phone number for 2016, (864) 895-0303.
Opening Retail for 2016 Season
We are OPEN Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, from 10am to 5:30pm. Starting Tuesday, June 14 until July 6, our retail farm market will be open
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10:00am til 5:30pm.
Initially will have blackberries and a few early peaches. Then plums and more peaches.
2016 Fruit Crop Overview
- Best apple and pear crops ever!
- Good peach crop!
- Excellent nectarine crop!
- Very good plum and prune crops!
- Muscadines and figs look great!
very busy making honey—40 hives!
- Late freeze and drought took/taking out much of the blackberry crop.
- Freeze got apricots.
- Have stopped attempting to grow raspberries.
Most everyone in Upstate has noted a great, almost fantastic flower bloom, fruit set, etc., in their yard/garden this
Spring. Upstate peach farmers are talking about having to spend so much money thinning---why? I would call it Mother Nature's most perfect spring weather for budding, flower bloom and pollination in years. Weather was very warm and dry for 3+ weeks, which allowed bees and other insects that play role in pollination to do their work to near perfection! Also little late spring freeze damage in Upstate.
One of my unique abilities in the years at Cryovac was recognizing major business need and new opportunities. Biggest mistake made in starting the fruit farm was marketing. Did not do adequate homework as to where the consumer was going from the standpoint of apple varieties. Planted heavily the varieties typically grown in the Southeast---Red and Golden Delicious, Staymans, and Romes.
Based on customer requests for other varieties and learning about varieties gaining popularity, we planted numerous
new varieties. At the same time, each year we've converted more and more old varieties to new varieties by grafting--probably 40%+ now.
Finally, most of the grafted trees are back in full production.
This combined with the new varieties planted and this spring's great pollination and fruit set mean we have excellent/best crop ever on most of our 27 apple varieties!
Have the crop size envisioned since starting the farm.
The challenge now: Has the farmer learned enough about growing apples to harvest a crop that could/should be 2 to 3 times larger than ever before?
Bartlett Type Pears
Believe we are the most successful growers of Bartlett type pears in the Upstate; maybe even in the Carolinas and Georgia! Now have five (5) producing varieties, which includes 3 actual Bartlett trees. This spring we "top work" grafted all remaining unacceptable variety trees to Shenandoah. All varieties except Bartlett are very resistant to fireblight.
From the standpoint of controlling insects and fungal diseases, pears are much easier to grow than most apples. Great season for pears! Every variety has an excellent crop set.
Have always thought that fruit buds could stand freezing temperatures that destroy blooms (flowers). Much to my surprise, the fruit type that was seriously damaged by the late spring freeze was our excellent early blackberry variety—Natchez. They were in full bud with very few blooms. The freeze took out over 75% of buds.
Our other three (3) blackberry varieties were not damaged by the freeze. But we do not have irrigation on them so their crops are being hurt by the drought. So much so that will only have "we pick" blackberries---no "you pick" for now.
Asian Pear Apples (Nippon Nashi)
Every season I become more convinced that the "flattened vase" approach, a take on what was observed in Japan, is a better way to successfully grow Asian pears in the Southeast than the apple central leader approach used by most US growers. We have eight (8) varieties and pretty much every variety has a maximum crop on it--requiring extensive thinning.
While use of the "flattened vase" tree structure has significantly increased pear yields and reduced labor, still have too much loss from touching ripe pear rot and crow pear pecking damage. In Japan all Asian pears observed were grown in a paper bag on the tree. This season we are going to do considerable bagging. It could possibly be cost-justified by eliminating a high percentage of this rot, crow, and insect damage.
Plums and Prunes
Surprise, surprise! Most of our customers consider the plum variety Elephant Heart to be the very best we grow! Year after year the trees put on small to no crop.
Much to our surprise, right now all of the Elephant Heart trees have a maximum crop. Why? I don’t know, other than the near perfect bloom/pollination conditions.
Also good Spring for prunes. Both varieties have good crops on them. We get calls from all over the East about obtaining damson plums. Only have a few trees and they have a maximum crop on them. Our customers have priority.
All of our fig trees were frozen back to the ground Spring 2014. All grew back during 2015 but no fig crop. This spring their first growth was damaged by the late freeze. No problem other than a little delay in first cropping. Growth is good and see lots of small figs. Their maturing is being held back by the drought and will be until we get some good rain. Expect a great crop—plenty of fresh figs. Even enough to make "Old Fashion Fig Preserves".
All eight (8) of our muscadine varieties are growing beautifully!
South Carolina Department of
Agriculture "Agro-Tourism" Program
This program is headed up by Jackie Moore who managed the development of the very successful Dept. of Ag. Specialty Foods Association program that Perdeaux Fruit Farm has participated in. While I did not consider our farm to be a significant tourism attraction, Jackie convinced me that it is/should be and we will be participating. You can learn more about this program and the farms participating at www.scagritourism.org.
Many say that the orchards at the top of our farm’s two small mountain ridges provide some of the most beautiful views in the Upstate. Walking tours are an important component of our farm tourism. Guess should say I finally woke up to a problem with doing so. Conventional farming for pest control operates under very stringent regulations promulgated by EPA, OSHA, FDA, and our regional land grant colleges. Most of fungicides and insecticides used have re-entry restrictions prohibiting doing so for 2 to 4 days after application.
With our 12 types of fruits, much of the time during the growing season, there is one (1) or more fruit type that is in a "no re-entry"
state. To make certain that we absolutely adhere to these regulation, effective immediately, we can not permit anyone to walk un-escorted in any fruit growing area of the farm.
To be able to have walking tours, we are taking steps to have employees available to walk with and guide visitors on their tour of the farm. There will be warning signage and the guides will be aware of no-entry areas.
Hope to see you real soon!
RETAIL FARM MARKET HOURS
JUNE 14 THRU JULY 6:
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 10:00am til 5:30pm
CLOSED Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
JULY 7 THRU ABOUT MID-NOVEMBER:
FARM ADDRESS FOR INTERNET DIRECTIONS AND MAP
2400 S.C. Hwy 11
Travelers Rest, S.C. 29690
Retail market phone: (864) 895-0303
View past newsletters, including the first newsletter of the season, and print out our fruit ripening charts online anytime at http://carolinafarmers.com/perdue/.