Monday, September 28, 2009

Apple of the Month - Granny Smith

Our featured apple this month is Granny Smith, an Australian apple with a great story.

Maria Ann “Granny” Sherwood-Smith was born in Peasmarsh, Sussex, England in 1800 and emigrated to Australia with her husband Thomas Smith when she was 38 years old. Late in her life Maria had a compost pile stacked up with the pulpy remnants of some French Crab apples. The French crab tree had been pollinated by an unknown tree in the area. From the seeds in this compost sprang the now famous “Granny Smith” apple. Maria did not live to see how popular her tree would become. She passed away two years before people started grafting the tree in earnest. By the end of the century the apple was winning awards and being cultivated all over the world. The apple is famous for its tangy refreshing taste and firm coarse texture. Granny Smith apples are recognizable the world over. Because of the trees adaptability to various climates and the fruits ability to withstand lengthy time in storage it has become one of the world’s greatest commercial varieties. To this day a festival is held in Eastwood, New South Wales, Australia to commemorate the life and achievements of Maria Smith drawing in 100,000 people. We grow this heritage apple at Wagon Wheel Orchard not just because of its hardy nature but because it has a rich story with an incredible legacy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Farm Fun Day Was a Hit!

Our first Family Farm Fun (FFF) Day was a huge hit! We aren't really sure who had more fun - the adults or the kiddos!

If you haven't read the prior posts, a FFF Day does not involve picking fruit. When you have picked all of the fruit that is currently ripe and we are in a waiting period for the next varieties to ripen, we will have a FFF Day filled with activites like field corn lawn darts, spinning gourds, biting for apples, hedge apple heads, apple naming contest, hay rack rides, maze, slushies, BBQ, feeding the goats, chickens, ducks, catfish and more!
At your request, we are now planning on remaining open after we get picked out for the day so you and your family can still enjoy these activites down on the farm! We will update the Picking Report to the right that we have been picked out for the day and will remain open during the hours posted. We will place a sawhorse at the entrance to our drive stating "No Fruit Picking" and "Family Farm Fun Day".

Join us for our next FFF Day - tomorrow, Saturday 9/19 after we are picked out until 4:00pm!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Family Farm Fun Days? Poll results say ABSOLUTELY!

Are you just looking for something fun to do with the kids? Looking to get out of the house & away from the city? Want to breathe some crisp fall air & experience some good old-fashioned fun? How bout some home-cooked BBQ, slushies, feeding some farm animals & trained catfish, hay-rack rides, a maze, & more down on the farm - a real working orchard?

With the recent unexpected press & amazing word of mouth advertising, we have nearly been picked out for the year! We only have a couple of days of picking left in the season. But we aren't done having fun yet! We love hearing the stories from our visitors about how they had the best time on our orchard & that the delicious fresh fruit was just a bonus! So the thought occurred to us...what if we opened up & just didn't pick fruit? You said you would come! So we are going to give it a try this Saturday September 12 from 12noon - 4pm! If it is as successful as you say you want it to be, we will consider doing more of these! Come hungry & for some good old-fashioned fun!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reserve your pawpaws today!

We've started harvesting our pawpaw patch! As we continue harvesting the pawpaws, we will sell them out of our Trading Post shop during our open hours. Because the fresh fruit is so rare and very difficult to get, we will be taking pawpaw "reservations"! Simply email with your name, phone number and quantity of pawpaws desired. They are $3 per pound (approximately 3-6 fruit per pound). We will fill the reservations in the order in which they are received. If your reservation is unable to be filled, we will call you to let you know!

Fresh and local, a pawpaw is a genus of eight or nine species of small trees with large leaves and large fruit - a large edible berry with a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango and with more protein than most other fruit. It is native to eastern North America and includes the largest edible fruit indigenous to the continent! They are typically understory trees found in deep fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitat. And did you know that the Common Pawpaw is the only larval host of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly! Pawpaw pulp is used primarily in baked dessert recipes - pies, cheesecakes & breads, as well as for brewing pawpaw beer. Pawpaw can be used in place of bananas in many recipes! Check out these sites for some fantastic recipes: