Thursday, October 22, 2009

More on Jim Kent and Locust Grove Fruit Farm

(Second of three parts)

One fruit that couldn’t handle this year's rainfall was the cherry, and Jim Kent’s crop was almost completely wiped out because of heavy rains that occurred only three to four days before Locust Grove Fruit Farm was to start the cherry harvest.

“We had a beautiful crop of cherries, but we lost 90 to 95 percent of them,” Kent said. “They split open.”

So, in the cherries’ case, water was both a blessing (earlier rain = bountiful crop) and a curse (later rain = cracked cherries).

But Kent was thankful; the situation could have been worse.

“We were lucky,” he said. “We didn’t get hit by hail, like a lot of people around us.”

Hail causes dents in apples, a surface blemish that doesn’t affect flavor, but is a blemish nonetheless.

“People want perfect fruit,” Kent said.

(Is that a conditioned by-product of what we see in supermarkets?)

As for apples, how they fared depended on each variety’s characteristics. For example, the Winesap, a great apple for snacking, has a thick skin. However, the inelastic thick skin cracked when the Winesaps
got bigger than normal because of this year's extra water.

And then there’s another can of worms (literally) that Kent has to deal with.

“Rain means more than just rain,” Kent said, “since there are certain bugs that thrive in that environment.”

More on Kent's growing pains tomorrow.

1 comment:

Peter said...

My Organic Approach column in the March 2010 issue of Horticulture magazine deals with the issue of perfect fruit and vegetables. This advertising-induced attitude is the bane of growers like Jim Kent. I look for perfection of taste; shape and color have little relevance.