Monday, 27 April 2009

Hail - the orchardist's nightmare

The fruit picking season is winding up, with late apples (late Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Sundowner, Rosy Glow) there is probably another three or four weeks left, but inkeeping with a chaotic season of farm takeovers, extreme heat, bushfires, Chinese and Iraqi contracted workers, we had another weather event on saturday night - large hailstones. Needless to say, hail and ripe apples on trees don't go to well together. Picking has been suspended today while the situation is assessed. Hail storms are very selective, they tend to lay waste in a narrow band, one farm can be devastated, while the neighbour's in unscathed. Unfortunately our farm was "scathed". There will be three options, either the hail damaged fruit will be picked seperately for juice, the good fruit will be picked with damaged fruit left on the trees, or the entire crop will be picked for processing into baby food or juice.