Here we are in May and we have flowers on the trees. What a beautiful sight to see the white and pink blossoms covering the trees throughout the orchard. This is almost perfect timing for the blossoms to be appearing. We are almost at our average last frost date which is around May 10th. We are not out of the woods yet but close.
So, how long does it take from flowering to the ripe fruit being harvested? All types of fruit vary greatly. Strawberries bloom in late April or early May and will be ripe and ready for harvest in approximately 30 days. This is a very fast turnaround when compared to tree fruit. Tart cherries will be ready for harvest in approximately 50 days. This is completely dependent on weather and variety. Cooler weather will slow development down while warmer weather will promote quicker development.
Peaches are another relatively fast developing fruit. From flowering to ripe takes 3 to 5 months depending again on the variety. When you consider the how large and juicy a peach can get it is incredible that they develop this quickly.
Apple trees take considerably longer to develop ripe fruit. From the time of fruit set; which is when the tiny fruit that initially appears from the bloom is established to the ripe fruit being harvested may take anywhere from 100 to 200 days. This is very variety dependent. An example of an apple variety that has a shorter developmental period is Zestar. Zestars are blooming as I write this, and we will be harvesting them in late August or early September. On the other hand, Granny Smiths are also blooming at the same time. They will be ready to harvest in the later part of October and maybe even stretch into November.
Pear trees also take a longer time to ripen. From flowering to ripe takes anywhere from 115 to 165 days. Again, this is totally dependent on variety. Dwarf pears will ripen quicker than pears not on dwarfing rootstock and Asian pears will ripen earlier in general than non-Asian pear types. Of the regular types of pears-Bartlett’s ripen earlier in the fall as compared to Comice and Bosc which ripen much later.
All the beautiful flowers in the orchard will soon give way to fruits of various kinds. All the fruits of our labor will begin to appear and develop through the spring and summer to give use a bountiful harvest throughout the season.
Once again, I would also like to take this opportunity to invite everyone out to visit Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard. We strive to make it a new experience each time you visit us. We guarantee that there is always something new to learn or see at Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard.
Vaughn Hammond –Orchard Operations and Education Team Leader
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