Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Another year in the books

Thank you for all your business this year! 

It was another great season meeting you all.  Thank you for all the word of mouth advertising you do for us.  You guys are pretty great.   Too quiet around here now without you all :)

We are starting to brainstorm for improvements for next year.  Please feel free to leave a comment or email BeilkeFF@gmail.com if you have any suggestions :)


So what will we do all winter??

Dad winter planning
The winter planning begins. Calling around getting information to make decisions.

With apple season over with, things slow down a little here.  Time to catch our breath and be thankful all our crops are in for the year.  Then soon after, next year's planning starts.  We look back over each crop we grew and brainstorm ways to make it go better next year , more efficient and try to learn from any mistakes.  We also do a final tally of how the crops turned our financially to help make decisions.  Then we sit down and figure out our "winter list", which is a list of things on our equipment that need fixed or improved.

Then we think of capital purchases like tractors, more efficient blueberry sprinklers, add drip irrigation, irrigation pump repairs, sprayers, etc that we would need to improve the farm.  To keep it moving forward instead of backwards.  My dad is good about thinking long term and big picture.  He likes to make a dream list if we had all the money in the world, what we would do.  Then we whittle it down to what can we actually afford and what is dire and most important for long term plus short term.

For each crop there are many things to think about:  Why are we growing this crop?  Is it worth it to grow this crop- financially and time and effort?  Do we have a rotation to keep this crop?  Do we trust the people we grow for so we will get paid?  What capital purchases in the future will we have to make to continue growing this crop?  What is the future of the crop for price and demand.  Etc, etc.

Then we have to decide where we will grow each crop on the fields we have.  It isn't the best to grow the same crop, year after year in the same spot.  Corn can be grown 2 years in the same field but only if you have to because your yield goes down.  Our vegetable seeds can't be grown again on the same land for 10-15 years because they can cross pollinate with weeds that maybe can't be controlled and the crop would be ruined.  Some crops don't get harvested until later in the season, like corn, so there is too short of time before the rains start to plant fall planted crops, like grass seed.  Anyway, my point is that you really have to do planning so you don't get yourself in a pickle.

Besides all the planning, we also start in on pruning the blueberries and later in the winter, the apples.  We also have to do mouse baiting in all the fields, so the voles won't eat our precious crop roots and trap for moles and gophers so our fields aren't destroyed.  Sometime we need to apply lime to our apples and blueberries depending on the pH.  We also attend LOTS of agricultural educational meetings.

I have a picture of a mole we caught and I'm so tempted to post it on here but I don't want to gross anyone out :)  So I will resist!

So that is what we are up to!  I will post a few pictures here and there throughout the winter so you guys can see if we are being productive or not :)

Hope you still have some apples left to enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

This Saturday, Nov 15th is the last day to pick apples!

This is your last chance for apples for the year.   It looks like it will be too cold for the apples after this.  Come pick your last stash for the winter on Saturday!  Open 8am to 6pm.

We also plan to pick a bunch of apples today that you guys can buy for $12 a bucket.  If there is any left after the weekend, you are welcome to buy some next week.  I'll post on Facebook on Monday if we have any pre-picked left.

We have Granny Smith and Gold Rush left to pick.  The Granny Smith left are especially gorgeous.
It will be cold but at least it will be sunny!!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Apple picking is still happening! Couple weeks more.

 Updated Nov 10:  All blueberry plants have sold.  Thank you!

We have some nice blueberry plants to sell!  We had to remove some from our fields for various reasons so we wanted to give you the opportunity to enjoy them!

We have about 25 of them left.  There are 4 year old Legacy and Aurora varieties which are a later season ripening blueberry.  Legacy is ready to harvest throughout August, and Aurora is Mid August to Early September. $20 per plant

We also have some smaller Duke blueberry plants that we had left from replanting some spots in our fields this fall if you are interested in those.  Dukes are ready to harvest the end of June through part of July.  $10 per plant for Dukes.

blueberry 1
Legacy Blueberry plant
Aurora blueberry plant

Now back to apples!  Yes we STILL have apples :)

Still available:

Pink Lady

Gold Rush

Granny Smith


This time of the season we will usually have pre-picked buckets available for you at the entrance of the orchard if you are just not feeling up to picking that day!  $12/per bucket.
You are also welcome to call ahead for us to pick you some apples if you want more than a couple buckets at a time!  We are happy to do that.  Just call and leave a message at 503-393-1077 or email us at BeilkeFF@gmail.com.


Other Farm Happenings:

The blueberry fields are starting to turn their fall colors.  Soon the leaves will fall to the ground and it will be pruning time.
blueberry fall blueberry sorter

We also need to spread sawdust in one of our fields that we didn't get to last year.  We spread it at the base of the blueberry plants.  Blueberry plants grow the healthiest when they have lots of the little fine shallow roots present, so it is worth the effort.  Plus it helps reduce evaporation in the summer when it is hot out and reduces the weed presence!

We will also be making our "winter list" that gives us direction once winter comes.  Helps us prioritize what needs fixed first, and reminds us of all the small repairs and improvements that need done here and there to make harvest time run smoothly.

Well we need to keep working away.  Thanks for checking in!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Raindrops falling on your head.

It definitely feels like fall around here!  But I am kinda loving it so far. :)

We do still have apples left!

Little girl
Yes that is sunshine in this picture.  We already forgot what it is like!

You won't have any problem finding Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gold Rush and Braeburn.  A large amount of all these left. (Again, walk to the orange cones in each row and there you will find loaded trees of apples.  Granny Smith doesn't need a cone yet because there are so many!)

(For Braeburn, we have a long single row of these, and also a cluster of trees planted in a triangle shape in the Southeast corner.  They are right along Pueblo St actually.)

Jonagold and Melrose: There are a small amount left.  Walk to the far end of both these rows and you will find some down there.

Fuji, Ruby Jon, Rome, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious are done for the season.  You will find some strays out there if you are just dying for a last bucket, but if you want some easy picking apples, focus on the ones above!)

 More pictures of our great customers!!

customers in gator customer in truck

It really is a pleasure helping you all find your apples.  It is such a fun time on the farm.  We just really enjoy meeting new people and getting to see again and again customers from other years and even weeks!  Anyway, thank you for the fun attitude you bring with you when you come out!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Just a quick update!

Happy Friday!

Not too much change to tell you about but wanted to give you an update for if you are coming out today or this weekend.

Obviously this picture was from a couple weeks ago because of the lack of warm clothes :) But I thought it was a great picture and wanted to post it! So fun to see people just enjoying themselves and not having to be in a rush! Thank you!

Most plentiful rows:  Gold Rush, Pink Lady, Granny Smith.

Apple rows that still have many apples but you need to walk to the far end to find them:  Melrose, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Braeburn.

Some Ruby Jon left, also walk to the farthest end.  I tried one today.  While the flesh is starting to turn softer, the flavor is amazing.  Wow.  I think they would make some even more amazing applesauce than 2 weeks ago.

Fujis are close to being all picked.  There are some smaller ones left on the 3 main Fuji rows.  Also bend down and look under the leaves into the tree.  These apples are kind disguised since they are a pale color.  We have 4 other trees in the older section, so ask and we will take you to them!  One of the trees hasn't even been touched yet.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Drawing winner announced!

And the winner of the Scavenger Hunt drawing is..................

scavenger hunt winner

The Smith Family!   
Come enjoy your free bucket of apples!

Thank you all who came out for the 2nd Annual Festival.   It was so fun to see everyone enjoying themselves, kids and families running around intently doing the scavenger hunt and lots of people discovering that the apple you choose does make a definite difference in the taste of your applesauce.  I think the hit of the festival was the Gator rides.  The kids really loved it.

Here are some other pictures for the festival for those who missed it:
App Fest 7

Ap Fes 1 Ap Fest 2 App Fes 4 App Fest 3 App Fest 5 App Fest 6

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pink Lady apples are ready now!

Pink Lady are our last apple to come ripe and it is well worth the wait!
Pink Lady is a great all-around apple.  Medium sweet flavor with a tang.  It is also great for baking, applesauce and my favorite for drying.  It is our longest storage apple too.
pink lady
Pink Lady
Pink lady tree

Other Apple Update:

Hint:  Walk down to the orange cones we have in most rows, and you will find the most easy picking starting at the cones!

Granny Smith, Gold Rush:  Lots and lots.  These came ripe just recently.

Jonagold:  Especially look on the west side of the row closest to the railroad tracks, plus toward the far south end.

Golden Delicious:  Many left in the main 2 row plus you will find more in the older part of the orchard.

Braeburn:  Lots left in the main single row.  We also have a whole section of Braeburn in the far southeast corner (by the road) that has barely been picked on yet.

Melrose, Ruby Jon, Rome:  Still quite a bit out there but you need to walk to the last 1/3 to 1/4 of the row.  One you hit the orange cone, the trees are full of them.

Red Delicious:  Some left on the single row, plus there are lots of trees spread throughout the older part of the orchard.  (If you don't know what the "older section" is, just ask us when you get here and we can show you!

Fuji:  Still some out there but getting low.  The last few trees all the way to the north are full of Fuji, and we have 3 trees in the older part of the orchard that we can guide you to.


One last reminder!  Apple Festival is this Saturday, Oct 18 from 10am-2pm!

Come find this little frog tomorrow for part of our scavenger hunt for adults and kids alike!

There is no entry fee or cost except if you'd like to purchase apples.

Come check out the apple tasting table, applesauce taste test, John Deere gator rides, Apple Tours around the orchard, Crafts for the kids, Scavenger hunt, Farm Equipment to check out, and of course, apple picking!  We'd love to have you.


 See you soon!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gold Rush and Granny Smith are Ready!

Gold Rush have a kick of flavor...tart with a hint of sweetness.
They are a good apple for many things.  Eating, Cooking, Salads, Juice and Hard Cider.  Nice size this year too!  Another great thing about these apples is they resist browning after cutting them!

Good Keepers too!

Gold Rush

gold rush

Granny Smith are a tart apple that is good for eating and great for baking/cooking.
I personally think they are great for dipping in caramel because of the contrast of tart and sweet!
If you are making apple cider, throw one or two of these in with the other apples to give the cider a little punch.

Other Apple Update:

We have TONS apples still but many rows you need to walk down halfway or even 3/4 to find where others haven't picked yet.  Don't give up if the row looks like there is nothing there.  If it has a PICK HERE sign, then there are definitely apples left.
We placed some orange cones down the rows to show you where the best picking spot starts.  So just head to the cones!

Jonagold:  The BIG jonagold on the north side have about 1/4 of the row left on each of the 4 rows.  The jonagolds on the south side by the railroad tracks have lots and lots left.

Ruby Jon and Melrose:  1/3 of the row left to pick.

Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Braeburn:  Lots and Lots

Fuji:  1/2 of one row left, and 1/4 of the other 2.  If these rows run out and you still want some, please ask because we have several loaded trees in the older section of the orchard we can take you too.

Rome: 1/3 of each of the 2 rows left.

Here is what we have been busy with!  Applesauce coming out our ears :)


More apples finding a new home.

So sweet to see the kids just enjoying their apples!

row of jonagold and gator
Morning duty of checking out the apple rows.  Seeing what is out there!

Pink Lady are the last apple that is coming up!  Usually ready by the end of October.  Will keep you posted on it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Braeburn, Rome and Fuji are ready now!

Wow the Rome apples are beautiful this year!  They are well-known for being an excellent cooking/baking apple.  They keep their shape when baked, and are great for baking whole.
rome close up
rome whole tree

Braeburn are a great all-around apple with a sweet, firm crunch.   You can use it for pretty much anything...baking, applesauce, eating, etc.  Pretty good keeper too.
braeburn close up

Fuji apples are sweet and great for eating and good for baking.
(Fuji are SO close...tasty now but will be even sweeter by next week.  You choose what you like!)

fuji close up

fuji far away

Other Apple Update:

We still have tons of Ruby Jon, Golden Delicous, Red Delicious, Jonagold and Melrose.
It may look like the rows are picked but if you walk halfway down, you will find the trees still loaded! 

All pears are sold out for the season.  Thank you!

Don't forget about our 2nd Annual Apple Festival on Sat, October 18th from 10am-2pm!!

We will have applesauce tastings so you can see what apples you like best for sauce.
And apple sliced so you can see what you like the best for eating.
Plus a few apple art crafts for the kids and apple tours for anyone!

We love our customers!  She found some beautiful apples and was such a hard worker!  She was kind enough to let us take her picture :)
woman with apples

Friday, September 26, 2014

Red Delicious are ready!

The world's most well-known apple.  We all grew up with these in school it seems.

Good for eating.  Much more tasty right off the tree...actually crispy and not mushy.

We have a half of row of them, plus random trees in the older section of the orchard.  The older section of Red Delicious are much more ripe and sweet right now than the single row.  The single row needs a little more time to ripen.  Ask us when you get here and we can point you in the right direction.

Red Delicious
Red Delicious

Red Delicious 3

Other Apple Update:

Jonagold:  Tons left.  We have many rows available.  So good!
Melrose, Golden Delicious, Ruby Jon:  Lots left.
Honeycrisp, Gala:  Done for the season.

Up Next:

Braeburn, Rome, Fuji, Gold Rush, Granny Smith are still a bit firm and ripening to get sweeter.   Sometime in October they will be ready.  Pink Lady are the last apple ready...usually mid to late October.  I'll keep you posted!

What a cutie!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ruby Jon Apples and D'Anjou Pears are ready!

Updated Gala, Jonagold and Honeycrisp status since we first put this post up on Sept 15th.
Ruby Jon:

I have been waiting for this apple since last year when I discovered they make AMAZING applesauce!
They are part Jonathon so they are great for baking too.
They are a medium to small size mildly tart apple.
Come try them and see what you think!
ruby jon 3
Ruby Jon

ruby jon 1


D'Anjou pears have just been picked too!  Pre-picked only.


$6.00 for smaller bucket
$12 for large 5 gallon bucket
(Please Note:  The pears MUST be chilled in your fridge for 4-6 weeks in order for them to ripen.  If you leave them on your counter, they will eventually just rot without ripening.  The grocery stores have already done this step for you.  Don't want you to be disappointed!)

anjou pears

Other Apple Update: (UPDATED 9-19-14)

Jonagold:   All 9 rows are now open for picking.
Golden Delicious:  LOTS of beautiful ones available.
Honeycrisp:  Not too much left.  If you hunt around, you will find some here and there hiding in the tree.  Plan on them all being gone by the end of today or at least by Saturday.
Gala:  The main 2 rows of Gala have some apples left down at the farthest end but they are getting to be only applesauce quality.  They look beautiful but are getting soft when you bite into them.  Wonderful applesauce.  They are very sweet and wouldn't have to add a drop of sugar. 
Melrose:  We have some ready to pick in the old part of the orchard. Please ask so we can show you!  The main row of Melrose are not sweet enough yet.  Need to wait a bit longer.

Just some fun pictures!
apple customers

silas and kai

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quick update about Ruby Mac and Golden Delicious

Since I just posted yesterday this will be a super quick update.

Please check yesterday's post for more detailed information about what other apples are ripe now!



Ruby Macs have all been picked.  Thanks for enjoying them all!

Golden Delicious (the regular season ones, not the Smoothies only) are now ready!

Golden Delicious

They are a mildly sweet apple with a thin skin.  Many people like them for pies and baking.  Also can be used for applesauce and of course great for eating.  These straight off the tree are so wonderfully crisp compared to the store.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Still plenty of Honeycrisp, plus others!

The scoop on apples today:


Filling up that bucket!

Plenty of Honeycrisp left to pick, especially on the inside of the tree hiding in the leaves.

A decent amount of Gala left if you are willing to walk to the last 1/3 of the row.  I have a few Gala trees in the older part of the orchard behind the shop if you don't want to go so far also.

Ruby Mac and Smoothies are getting slim but you will find a about 10 loaded trees of each if you are willing to walk to the last 1/4 of the row.  Still very high quality apples.  Ask us for a Gator ride to take you down there if you want!

Been trying to wait to post until the Jonagold were ready but they are still just stalling a bit.  We have 9 rows of Jonagold.  I would say 1 of the rows is actually ready if you pick and choose the redder apples on the outside.  They still need to sweeten up a bit...the greener ones at least. That being said, if you plan to store these, then by all means come pick because they will last longer if picked a bit early and they will ripen in storage.  If you want Jonagold to eat or for pies, I would recommend waiting until you hear from me again on the blog.  I will let you know when we open up more rows.

jonagold 3

In other news, it is still awhile off but I wanted to mention we are having our 2nd annual apple festival on Saturday, Oct 18 from 10-2 so you can mark your calendars!  We will have apple tasting of all the varieties, applesauce to try, crafts for the kids, apple tours for all ages and maybe a little more up our sleeve.   It is a low key day for some free family fun.


Farm Happenings: 

We have all our crops harvested now except for corn and of course apples!  Such a relief to almost have the crazy summer season over.  I mean don't get me wrong, harvest is a great time that shows the "fruits" of your labor but it can be crazy!  It is such a relief to get all the crops in so there is no more question of possible weather/pest/disease damage, etc.   Just a large sigh happens around here.  Maybe that is why we are so cheerful during apple season! Ha!

Now we are starting to plan for next year already, like what crops to grow again and what to stop, how we will care for the crops differently next year, and we do a big final budget to see how each crop produced.  Very time consuming but gives us real information to help us make good financial decisions.

Fun stuff:

Some great people I got to meet so far this year!

family 2

first time picking apple


Thanks for letting me take your picture!  Beware all of you, I will be asking :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Honeycrisp apple is ready! (2014)

Finally time for your guy's favorite apple!

Honeycrisp are an excellent eating apple.  Very juicy and sweet.  They are also great for baking and applesauce.  Honeycrisp keep their shape well when baked.

We have 3 rows of Honeycrisp, and an " every other tree is Honeycrisp" row.  As of right now, you will find the ripest Honeycrisp on the most eastern outside row of the 3 Honeycrisp rows,  and on the "every other tree is Honeycrisp" row.  If that is confusing, pretty soon all will be the same and it won't matter :)

honeycrisp 1

Honeycrisp 2

Honeycrisp 3

Some of the Honeycrisp are more red (a tiny bit more ripe), and some are more green colored, like the bottom photo but don't worry, they are all sweet.  The green ones just don't get as much sunshine so don't get a chance to get as red.

Other apples still yummy and available:


Ruby Mac


(Check previous blog posts for information/pictures on each of these varieties)

Bartlett Pears are SOLD OUT.
In awhile we will have D'Anjou pears available.  I'll let you know when!




FYI, We are also on Facebook under Beilke Family Farm if you want another way to hear when your favorite apple is ready.