It’s Ap­ple Time!

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

The re­cent stretch of beau­ti­ful weather has made ap­ple pick­ing at lo­cal or­chards even more fun than usual this har­vest sea­son. That was ob­vi­ous, last Sun­day at the Stevens Or­chard, in Stanstead, as chil­dren from Sun­ny­side El­e­men­tary and Jardin-des-Fron­tieres

schools, along with their par­ents and grand­par­ents, took part in the third an­nual “Gala Event”. Those that show up for the event, and the num­ber has been grow­ing ev­ery year, pick and then grade the ap­ples, with the smaller ones put aside for the two schools, to be stored and then de­liv­ered a cou­ple of times a month by the or­chard’s owner, Har­vey Stevens. “By the time we fin­ished grad­ing, we had 51 bushels for the schools. That’s 2,040 pounds, or a lit­tle more than our ob­jec­tive of a ton. We should have enough ap­ples for the stu­dents un­til mid-win­ter,” said Mr. Stevens. “We don’t make ap­ple juice here, and some of the ap­ples are just a lit­tle too small for the stores. So it works out well – the Gala Event has turned into a hit!” he added.

“We had a good grow­ing sea­son un­til we got the hail on Au­gust 14th. That put a few dim­ples in some of the ap­ples,” con­tin­ued Mr. Stevens. This week­end, there will be many va­ri­eties ready for pick­ing at the Stevens Or­chard, in­clud­ing the anx­iously awaited Hon­ey­crisp. “They some­times sell out in two weeks,” he com­mented. The other va­ri­eties are Cort­land, Ma­coun, Spar­tan, the new Ginger Gold, and three types of Galas: Mitchgla Gala, Ful­ford Gala and Royal Gala. “The Ginger Gold is a new va­ri­ety, a yel­low­ish ap­ple that is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity,” said the ap­ple pro­ducer.

Over at the Heath Or­chard, in Stanstead East, the well-aged trees are laden with ripe red fruit, ready for the pick­ing. “Our early ap­ples were a lit­tle un­pro­duc­tive, but we were ex­pect­ing that be­cause last year’s crop was so boun­ti­ful. Older va­ri­eties, as the early ap­ples are, of­ten al­ter­nate years of pro­duc­tion,” ex­plained Chris Rawl­ings. On the other hand, the crop of ‘late’ ap­ples is abun­dant. “Our Paula Reds are ex­cel­lent, and the Mac­in­toshes are phe­nom­e­nal, uni­formly de­li­cious. And be­cause of the lack of rain there is a lot less scab,” said Mr. Rawl­ings.

The other ap­ple va­ri­eties avail­able at the Heath Or­chard are Cort­lands, Spar­tan, Em­pire and the end of the Lo­bos. You can also find a nice va­ri­ety of squash there (But­ter­cup, Am­ber Cup, But­ter­nut, Sweet Dumpling, blue and green Hub­bards) and pump­kins of all sizes.

“It’s been an en­cour­ag­ing year so far; we’ve had lots of pick­ers. We’re hop­ing to be open for pick­ing the en­tire month of Oc­to­ber, but that’s not in my hands!” con­cluded Mr. Rawl­ings.

Photo cour­tesy Stevens Or­chard

It was a three gen­er­a­tional ap­ple-pick­ing af­fair, last Sun­day, as stu­dents of Stanstead’s two el­e­men­tary schools and their par­ents and grand­par­ents picked and graded Gala ap­ples at the Stevens Or­chard. The free ap­ples will be de­liv­ered by Mr. Stevens to the schools through­out the year.

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