The "News" tab has gone a while without an update and for that I apologize. I'll give a quick summary of what's happened around here since last spring and then delve into the current state of things.
The biggest change this past year has been the addition of a cider production facility. If you travel the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, you may have noticed the construction on the hill last summer:
The other big news, while not necessarily a business occurrence, is the addition of a new Dressel to the family! Tim and Kristin were married in a small, intimate ceremony on Sanibel Island, Florida on February 20th. Safe to say that Tim's had quite the year!
Onto current affairs!
If you're living in the area, you're quite aware of the unusual weather we've been experiencing. The winter seemed like it was going to be a mild one...until February. Temperatures dipped close to -20 on multiple occasions and debilitating snow extended well into March, making dormant pruning nearly impossible. The record lows took their toll on the grapes and peaches, leaving the 2015 season in question. Below-average temperatures hung in a while and delayed the beginning of the growing season by nearly 2 weeks.
When the chill finally lifted, nature seemed eager to catch up and 45-degree highs quickly became 75-degree highs, accelerating the trees into an explosion of growth and, eventually, bloom. It's the first (and hopefully last) time we've seen the peaches bloom at the same time as the Rome trees. All this translates into what would be a month's worth of work for us being compressed into just a couple weeks, so it's been a struggle to keep up!
To further the weather headaches, the warm weather has been accompanied by virtually no rain at all. The few showers we've seen have done little to water the trees and plenty to encourage disease and mold growth. We've had to stop planting new trees to focus on installing irrigation to water the starving trees we've just planted. Nobody said farming was easy, I guess.
Moving forward, we're continuing to renovate an old orchard we purchased last year to prepare it for new plantings. This includes removing outdated trees, taking soil tests to determine nutrient needs, installing drainage tile in low-lying areas, and, again, installing irrigation. The cycle continues!
That's about the gist of our current situation. We're just about to finish up processing and shipping the last apples of the 2014 harvest, which will be a welcome relief and allow us to focus some of that attention elsewhere. We've just re-opened the Ice Cream Stand for its 14th season (!!) and are getting geared up for the summer and strawberry season, which is right around the corner. For now we're hoping for rain and pressing on!