WEEK 28, Orchard Cider Year

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OCY28 InJuly 13, INDOORS: Well, nearly indoors. This is a typical “twilight meeting,” organized for fruit-grower education. Here you see a dynamic entomologist, Kevin Rice, explaining how his team are working to find out whether the red anti-apple-maggot spheres you saw last week (remember?) can also be used to stop Spotted-Wing Drosophila. SWD is a tiny fly that got off the boat from Asia some years ago. Unlike most fruit flies, it lays eggs in ripening, not rotting, fruit – soft fruits, not so much apples. In NH it hits fall crops and threatens summer crops. If summer SWD numbers go up, we will have to rip out our Pick-Your-Own raspberries and cherries because at this point only frequent drenches of insecticide will stop SWD, and that’s not our style. HOWEVER, if Dr. Rice’s experiments show that the red balls can stop drosophila as well as maggot flies, we can protect our raspberries and our principles. So can the other growers in the pic, also their strawberries, blueberries, and other susceptible fruits. AND if two uses can be found for these spheres, ag supply corporations may see profit and start making them economically; they would move from “experimental” to mainstream. So please, stop and imagine how much hangs on that research. (The little pink puffer thing is a piece of specialized medical equipment that Kevin uses to to coat fragile flies with UV-reflective powder, in order to follow them at night!)

OCY28 OutJULY 14, OUTDOORS: Speaking of apples, in a year like this the cutting-edge research and the new FH ciders need to feel good because — remember the Polar Vortex in April, Week 14 — because the apple crop feels eccentric, to put it mildly. Certain varieties, viz Dabinett, look fine. Others, viz. McIntosh, are few and far between, which actually isn’t so bad in Macs because PYO is more fun when it’s more work. But certain varieties are barely noticeable. See the perky upswept branches of the Spitz and Wickson trees? There’s no weight on them at all. Feh. So as time goes on we’ll learn more about what we have and figure out what we can do with it. Meanwhile, the fabulous ’15-crop Farnum Hill Ciders start shipping in August, so that’s nice.
P.S. In the wake of the Bastille Day outrage, let’s all seek out imported French ciders and drink to la France and la vie. LDS

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