Better Farm to Establish Apple Orchard

Better Farm is installing an apple orchard to provide the public with fresh-pressed cider, pick-your-own apples, harvest festivals and much much more in the coming years.

The 100-percent organic apple orchard will be free of any chemical pesticides or fertilizers and will boast bee hives for pollination, walkways for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy, and a nearby pond and gazebo for outdoor picnics, fishing and camping.

The installation of the orchard will be completed over the course of the next several years. Each spring we will plant a few dozen more apple and fruit trees until there are hundreds in the field alongside Better Farm's main house. We will also be digging the existing pond out to be many feet deeper for year-round fish survival and filtration. At the pond, a gazebo will be constructed next to a weeping willow tree.

This year, we will be planting six varieties of apple trees. Planting starts in mid-April; email info@betterfarm.org to get involved! Here's information on the varietals:

Jonamac apples. Image from Orange Pippin.

Jonamac apples. Image from Orange Pippin.

Ben Davis—The Ben Davis apple tree bears firm, medium-size fruit in late September that is juicy and slightly aromatic. The skin is yellow with splashes and stripes of bright red. The fruit keeps well and is used for fresh eating, baking and sauce making. This antique variety originates from the United States, circa 1800s. (Information from Stark Bros.)

Cortland—This cold-hardy apple variety bears lovely ruby-red apples with a snowy center that won’t brown in salads. Also perfect for pies and cider. Cold-hardy. Ripens in mid September. (Information from Stark Bros.)

Honeycrisp—Honeycrisp apples are quickly becoming a new American favorite. Crisp, cream-colored flesh is mild, sweet and aromatic on these 3-inch beauties. The fruit is sweet as honey. (Information from Stark Bros.)

Jonamac—Jonamac apples are an attractive, high quality McIntosh-type dessert apple that is medium in size with 90% dark red color. Fruit is firm and crisp, ripening just ahead of McIntosh. Tree is medium-sized, very productive and an annual bearer. Jonamac is suggested as a pollinator due to its extended bloom period and apparent tolerance to fire blight. (Information from Adams County Nursery.)

LodiThe “early bird” of the orchard. These fruits are ready by July to be turned into pies, cider and applesauce. (Information from Stark Bros.)

Northern Spy—Northern Spy is a very old-fashioned American variety picked in late October or early November, and then used through the winter months.  It keeps in a cold store well into spring. It is a naturally vigorous variety which will produce a relatively large tree.

Image of orchard from Tumblr.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.