by Hilary Rowley
I didn't stay for the apple pressing held by Waitati Open Orchards (WOO) at the Blueskin-on-Show day in Bland Park, but the set-up was impressive, and there were many and various apple varieties waiting to be turned into delicious juice. The weather, too, was unusually perfect, so I expect it was a very successful day.
There is going to be one last apple pressing for the year if you are wanting to press some of your own fruit. Things will be run a bit differently from before. You are going to need to have your apples already prepared for pressing when you arrive and will have to operate the insinkerator yourself. If you want you could also do the press yourself, but Paul will be there to help if necessary. What you press you keep, so bring your own bottles. The location has yet to be found but it will be on 4 May. Keep your eye out for news, and if you want to volunteer a suitable place for the pressing call Paul on 482 2335.
There are still plenty of roadside apples and pears out there, though they are small this year due probably to a lack of water, they would still be great juiced. We saw heaps of laden trees between Palmerston and Dunback a week ago, and I bet there are plenty more out there.
It's time to spray copper, or whatever you are spraying for fungal infections, on your fruit trees before leaf fall. A good mulch with seaweed wouldn't do any harm either. Another job is to prune your berry canes before winter sets in.
We have found a good way to store apples and pears. Place perfectly sound fruit in the cardboard apple boxes thrown out by supermarkets. They have moulded purple cardboard trays which, unsurprisingly, are perfect for storing apples. Just store the box in a cool, rodent-free place, and check them over now and again for rot. We put the long-keeping apples like Granny Smiths on the bottom of the box, and the varieties we will use first, like dessert apples and pears on the top.