May is nearing its end and my husband Remo and I are only just about to put some seeds in the soil and hope for a bountiful harvest this summer and fall. We are so fortunate to live in the Okanagan Valley where we have warm summers and optimal conditions to grow our own vegetables and to eat food grown closer to home. The only thought prevailing over our minds now, is “what will the weather do this year?”
Our personal garden requirements are to minimal compared to the amazing fruit farmers of our region. The spring fears of frost damage to trees and blossoms, hot sun forcing early blooms, crazy wind storms reeking havoc on foliage, heavy rains, flooding, who knows what the spring will bring.
Then the likelihood for a hot, dry summer and irrigation considerations, or will this year be one of those cooler, wetter summers…? Thank goodness the apple growers, and all of the fruit growers in the Okanagan, are so adaptable, moving quickly with changing needs and doing amazing things to get us the best fruit possible.
The unpredictability of the growing season affects MobileJuicing,com as well, and it’s equally challenging to know how many apples will actually be available this year. Will it be a big production year, or a small one? Will this year start earlier than last? Will there be damaged crops that growers will want to turn to juice and increase our demand tenfold?
**Most people think that we just juice damaged or cull apples, but that is in fact mostly wrong. Good juice is made from quality apples and our clients are seeing the benefit in making really yummy juice. We often juice from varieties offering low returns and pressing them actually increases the growers profit (a bit backwards, isn’t it?) or we press varieties that aren’t accepted at packing houses (we made a 100% Empire apple juice and it was delicious). While we strive to help growers utilize their ENTIRE crop, culls and all, our ultimate goal is to help them succeed wherever we can.
The unpredictability of the growing season makes it hard to plan ahead, however we encourage growers to book their juicing days as soon as they know when they will have apples to juice. October is by far the busiest month so we encourage those with early varieties to juice in September, and late varieties in October and November. The best juice is made from apples picked straight off the tree, especially early varieties that don’t keep long after picking. The better quality of fruit, the better the juice, so we try to use only fresh, crisp apples, not soft, mealy ones, and especially not bruised ones (bruised juice tastes like mold and can contain highly toxic chemicals produced by that mold).
So we wish the Okanagan growers a very happy and successful growing season, we’ll do a little rain dance or a sun ceremonies when we think you need it. We look forward to juicing your apples when they are ripe and ready! Happy Growing!