Rebuilding the Orchard, Planning for the Future

As we wrap up the busiest time of our year which begins with Pumpkin Patch and ends with holiday shipping, we want to share what has been happening at Love Creek Orchards.

Some folks may have seen empty sections of the orchard.  Without the facts, rumors start growing faster than powdery mildew on crepe myrtles!  We’ve heard everything from “the orchard died”, “the orchard was yanked to plant a hay field”, to “Love Creek Orchards is closing”.

Hutzlers with young Gold Rush trees.

None of this is true.  The dwarf apple trees we use at Love Creek only have a productive life of 20 to 25 years.  When Stacie and I bought the orchard in 2014, most of the trees were already beyond their productive life.  Some of the trees we had in our orchard were over 30 years old!  The typical timing to replace the trees would have been right when we were transitioning ownership from Baxter Adams.  It costs thousands of dollars to replant an orchard.  It takes years to get the first fruit and it takes a decade to recoup the cost of a replant.

So, Stacie and I started replanting a couple years ago and we have 4 rows of young trees: Gala, Jonathan, Goldina, and Gold Rush.  These trees had their first crop in 2018.  Customers had the opportunity to come pick fruit from these little trees.  They have many years ahead of them to grow and produce more fruit each year.

Newly planted blackberries 2018

We also planted new blackberries this year.  We selected thorny varieties because they naturally grow larger fruit than the thornless varieties.  Thornless varieties don’t grow as well in our soil and the fruit is more seed than berry.  The thornless varieties are just so plump and juicy I can hazard the thorns for the great reward.

Hopefully, we will have some berries in 2019, but we are not expecting a large crop until 202.

If you drive by the orchard today, you will see several acres of empty fields.  The fields have been plowed to remove old roots and turn the soil.  When removing apple trees for replant, it is best to leave the field fallow for at least 18 months.  We collected our crop this year and immediately killed and pulled our old trees.

This winter 2019, we will be planting some Anna, Dorset Golden, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady trees.  In 2020, we will be planting more Gala, Fuji, and probably more Goldina and Jonathan, and other undecided varieties.  We won’t have crops on these trees until 2023 and later, so hang in there.

We will also be planting more blackberries and figs.  All of the new pick your own plants will be towards the front of the property to make it easier for customers to pick.

We removed our grapes because they don’t work with our Pick-your-own model.  We also removed our persimmons because they are ripe during the Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch and are on too far a section of the property to manage picking while we are servicing over 1000 at The Patch.

We are very excited about the investments we are making in the Orchard, and know you will enjoy the fruits of our labor! We love to hear a good rumor, and we are always happy to confirm what is happening.  Check us out on social media.