North Star Orchard Blog

Welcome to "Warm Winter #2" (the implied #1 herein referred to being last winter, 2016).

Here at NSO, we're starting to get a bunch of questions about tree health due to the weather being so warm. So, here goes some info - dive in as little or as much as you'd like to! (Note: a post-snow update is at the bottom of this post!)

"Captain, although primitive, this forcefield is nontheless quite effective against larger pest species from the rodent family."

Indeed, you are correct as usual, Spock. We call these "tree guards" and they do a good job at keeping hungry rabbits from nibbling the bark of fruit trees. Apparently, they are also quite effective in trapping Starfleet officers. Sorry about that!

"Indeed, Dr. McCoy" replied Mr. Spock. "It would be logical at this juncture to confer with the natives of this area for assistance with this challenge."

By request of many, we've now a virtual tour, of sorts, of the farm!

In 90 seconds, get a feel for what NSO looks like both from a bird's eye view and closeup as various harvest activities take place in late summer and fall.

Thanks to Chris Ruch for the excellent video.

You know that stuff you drink in fall that's made of apples? What IS that stuff? Cider? Juice? What's the difference? Ah, welcome, my friend, to the wonderful and wacky world of history, the English language, and modern technology.

Every school child learns the romanticized story of Johnny Appleseed. Every adult (should) know the real story of Johnny Appleseed. That all those seeds he planted were for pressing cider, not eating fresh out-of-hand, and of course, that cider was the hard, alcoholic stuff.

So, back in the day, "cider" meant an alcoholic beverage (there's your truncated history). And in many countries of the world today (here's where the English language comes in), "cider" still means an alcoholic beverage. Which is why we get some mighty interesting questions from time to time from foreigners when they visit our stand and purchase our cider.

What does November mean to you? Thanksgiving celebrations...the clocks changing...digging out the sweaters and packing away the shorts...cozy evenings with warm drinks and fun movies?

November means all of that to us and more. Here on the farm, November means Gold Rush apple month - that golden time of year we all wait for to harvest and enjoy those awesome apples, make varietal cider, and start cleaning up the farm to ‘put it to bed’ for the winter.

For some of our local community, November also marks the memorable loss of two teens who suddenly and silently lost their lives a couple years ago to odorless carbon monoxide gas.

There may not be much more to be said about Gold Rush that you don’t know already, but we’ll give it a try with a bit of interesting apple history...

Winecrisp is a complex, crunchy, sweet, and very hard apple with a fruity sweet flavor (with hints of berry!) and a beautiful dusky red skin.

When we planted this new variety, it was simply known as Co-op 31 (the poor nameless thing). We only planted one tree, just to try it out. There's nothing too exciting-sounding about "Co-op 31", so who wants to risk planting more than one of them?!

With more than 300 apple varieties to choose from, it's pretty clear that NSO is passionate about all things APPLE! Applesauce, apple butter, apple cider, and apple information. We know how to grow them, how to pick them, how to store them, and how to get them to you.

Now we have a few more interesting tidbits to add to YOUR apple knowledge:

Shall we take a journey down memory lane to our childhood today?

Back in the day, when we all chewed gum, Bazooka was quite a thing. Pink, perfumy, rock-hard at first (usually), we dug in anyway and then attempted to blow bubbles with it. At least for this chewer, bubble-blowing seemed rather tricky with Bazooka.

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