Grand Rapids is probably the northern limit for many of the varieties produced by our own University of Minnesota. In saying that, we know we are gambling a little in our hopes to produce apples on a consistent basis, but it is a venture that we are excited about and anticipate the challenges.
Some of the apple trees are over 15 years old at this time. We continue to replace varieties we are not happy with and some trees that have succumb from winter injury. We have about 1200 trees, all on very dwarfing rootstocks. The plants are grown in a slender spindle system. The spacing ranges between 3 and 6 feet between plants with rows 12 feet apart. Our pruning systems involves taking out the 2-3 largest branches each spring along with narrowing the trees to allow good sunlight exposure throughout the tree.
We have planted several old time favorites, but also have many newer varieties like Honeycrisp, Zestar, Frostbite, Kindercrisp and the exciting new variety called SweeTango. In 2016 we put in a small planting of Minnesota's latest release, First Kiss. It appears this variety may not be hardy enough for Grand Rapids' climate. We still have a few of the First Kiss trees but many were taken out after the harsh winter of 2018-19.
We typically start the apple season during the early part of September.
2020 prices for: Honeycrisp, SweeTango and First Kiss- $/ lb.
Zestar and most other apple varieties will be $/lb.