Another harvest season has started – beginning with pears. I'm harvesting delicious, “Ayers” and “Moonglow” pears. This is a little earlier than usual, but it is not up to me when I start harvesting. Mother Nature has final control of when harvest season begins and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Picking fruit is tough, tedious work and it lasts for months! Before the harvest season begins, I just don't feel like doing it. I say to myself, “Maybe I'll just let the fruit rot this year and go fishing.” But once I begin picking fruit, the age-old 'Harvest Passion' kicks in, and away I go until November! And who can resist biting into a ripe piece of fruit picked fresh off the tree - full of those sweet, golden juices dripping down your chin?
Each variety of pear or apple ripens at a different time, from September to late October. I test the apples in the orchard for ripeness using a clever little device that measures sugar content called a “Refractometer". I pick the fruit when ripe and then store it under cover for a week or two. This is known as "sweating" the fruit. This causes the fruit to get softer, sweeter and juicier. Fruit that has been "sweated" is easier to grind and press, and produces more juice.
Most of our apple trees are harvested by the end of October. We do have one “Lady” apple tree that ripens in late November – early December. It's often called the “Christmas Apple”. It is a lovely, little apple with a red blush that looks pretty in a Christmas wreath. It also makes a nice cider for our Christmas dinner.
Mother Nature says the harvest season has now officially begun, and so has my 'Harvest Passion'.