Talking to Fred from Wilklow Orchards

In Events on July 18, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Thanks to farmer Fred for spending over 2hours with everyone at our last distribution!

Our Fruit Share Coordinator, Maggie J., wrote up some of the info for members who weren’t able to meet him this time around! For periodic updates on Wilklow Orchards, visit their facebook page.

How do you choose what to plant?

Wilklow Orchards, a NY State family farm, have been in business since the late 1800s(!) Fred told us the currants on the farm are those that his great, great, great…grandfather planted over one hundred years ago.  In addition to currants, they also grow raspberries, apples, peaches, plums, pears and starting this year, blueberries!

Given the heat/ rain/ lack of rain(!), how does this affect the seasonal availability of the fruits?

Depending on the fruit, the affects vary; for raspberries too much water isn’t good as they need to be picked as soon as they are ripe. If we wait or if there is a lot of rain, they can mold quickly.  Similarly, with cherries, too much water will cause the cherries to “split” and then they are susceptabe to going bad. Fred noted, he and his workers perform “quality checks” to remove the molded or poor quality fruit as much as possible before bringing it to the CSA or to sell at the market.

Yellow plums vs. purple plums, what is the difference? Any reason to plant one or the other?

There are several varieties of each fruit. Fred will try to get us a good assortment of the ones he grows.  His land is quite large, so easily grow several varieties.  They also have black currents and red currents, but given black currents are pretty unusual and they don’t have as many, Fred usually brings the red ones…

How do you choose which fruit to bring to the CSA?

Fred tries to deliver the best quality fruit for the best price and quantity each week.

Every Monday, based on which fruit is harvested, the market price, quality and quantity we get (say $8 shares vs. $10 shares), Fred makes the best choice for his CSA customers. He focuses primarily on variety and cost effectiveness since CSA members pay up front and are ongoing customers and partners.

Since the raspberries have been incredibly delicious this year and Wilklow Orchards have several acres of raspberry bushes, Fred is bringing us raspberries weekly. In addition, the time is right and the price is good now, so we can get a good amount of raspberries (2 pints) and a good amount of one other fruit.

Another example are the peaches which were ready to harvest two weeks ago, but the market price per pound was higher then. The quality of peaches this week was still good but now he was able to offer us a greater discount…so he waited to deliver more “bang for the buck”.

Hope that is interesting! I know that I really enjoy talking with Fred and learning from him (and certainly very much enjoy the fruit!)–please post any additional questions and we’ll do our best to get feedback and info from Fred.

We’re hoping for a Wilklow Orchards visit (apple picking?) this fall!



Fruit Coordinator


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: