Winter in the Orchard

Ambrosia apple orchardHarvest is over, and while we enjoy the fruits of our Ambrosia apple farmers’ labour, their work is far from done! Winter is an important time in the orchard as farmers are getting the trees ready for the next growing season.

It may not be the most thrilling job but pruning – trimming offshoots and branches from the tree – is an important part of the growing process, and the best time to do this is while the trees are resting during the cold, winter months. 

If orchardists didn’t prune and just let the trees grow unchecked, the tree would be working so hard to turn all of those buds to blossoms that it wouldn’t have enough energy to grow good apples. There may be a lot of apples but they’d all be quite small. By thinning out the branches and nipping some buds, the tree will know exactly where to send its energy. This will help produce those big and juicy Ambrosia apples that we all look forward to.

So, if farmers want to grow good sized apples and have a healthy orchard, they have to put their winter boots on, bundle up and head out into the snow to prune the orchard. Some farmers really love this time of year: it’s quiet, they have lots of time to think, and they get a chance to get reacquainted with every tree in the orchard and give it some loving attention.

Whether this is the beginning of the apple growing process or the end, one thing is for sure – it’s a critical step that we need to appreciate when we bite into a big, juicy Ambrosia apple.

We stopped by Bob Thompson’s orchard in Summerland, BC, one winter to find out what Ambrosia apple growers are up to during the winter months. Check out this video, and more in our Life of An Apple series.