Phillips Orchards & Cider Mill

  (Saint Johns, Michigan)
Life on the Farm
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Spring Is Coming On Slowly

What a change from last year.  Last year we had an early warm up, followed by our typical late spring frost/freezes which destroyed most of the fruit crop. This spring it has been warming up slowly, so the buds are just now starting to open.  The mad dash toward the end of the pruning season is on.  We've been pruning the apples everyday since January.  I actually pruned a little bit back in December.  We'll prune the peaches this weekend, then back to work on the apples for another 3 or 4 weeks.




What a Year!

2012 has been an unforgettable season.  Those two weeks of hot weather in March were followed by our usual frosts in late April.  We managed to pull through with 10% of our apple crop.  At least we had something.  So here we are in mid-November, and we only have Golden Delicious left.

 Still, we'll be open at our Gatehouse Market on US-127 through New Year's eve with Fresh Cider, doughnuts, and all our other great made in Michigan products, and those Golden Delicious for as long as they last. 



We are harvesting Canadian Harmony peaches now....and they'll continue for about another week.  The middle of next week Coralstar and PF 19-007 will begin harvest.  Our peaches should continue for about 3 more weeks, so get yours before the season is over.  Call 989-292-5252 for updated availability or to order in advance.

Paula Red & Ginger Gold apples

Paula Red & Ginger Gold apples are now available at both locations.

Brightstar Peaches

Excellent early season flavor, Brightstar peaches are now ready.

 Available at the orchard, call 989-292-5252 with any question or to order in advance. 


Earlystar Peaches

Fresh, Juicy Peaches are now ready! Earlystar Peaches are now ready.  They are 80 - 90% red blushed and beautiful, they do tend to cling to the pit, like all early peaches, but are great for fresh eating.  They aren't recommended for freezing or canning, but since they are weeks earlier than main season peaches....we don't complain.

 Call to order for pick up at the farm or we'll have this Saturday at the Saint Johns Farmer's Market. 

Lodi Apples

Lodi Apples are now ready.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Lodi, they are a Yellow Transparent x Montgomery cross, very similar to the Yellow Transparent.  They are green, turning pale yellow when ripe, and tart.  They make great applesauce, apple butter and a decent early apple pie (they cook down more than the best fall pie apples).  They don't store well so, get them while they are fresh off the tree, so only available for the next week or so.


Call to order for pick up at the orchard or they'll be available this Saturday at the Saint Johns Farmer's Market. 


Peach Season Is Only a Month Away

The 2011 peach crop is shaping up nicely.  We have 12 varieties of peaches and the season should run from late July until early September.  So start licking your lips for our homegrown Michigan peaches.

Honeycrisp are Back!

We sold all the Honeycrisp that we grew this season.  However we were able to locate another local grower who had some for sale, so we now have more Honeycrisp available.  $7.50 1/2 peck

Fresh Apple Cider is Here!

Our fresh pressed apple cider is now ready.  We'll press fresh cider several times a week, through December 31st.

More Apples

More apples are now ready.  We now have Paula Red, Gala, McIntosh & Cortland.  Empire will be ready this Saturday, 9/11/10.  Jonagold will be ready beginning 9/15.

Many more to come, and we'll have most varieties from our cold storage through December 31st. 


Apple Harvest Has Begun

The apple harvest has begun this weekend with Paula Red apples.  The store at the orchard will officially open for the season next Thursday August 12th, and we'll remain open 7 days a week until December 31st.

Harvest 10 - 14 days Earlier than Normal

Because of the warm weather early this spring and the continued warm weather all summer the apple harvest will begin earlier than normal this year.  It looks like most varieties of apples will be harvested 10 - 14 days earlier than normal.

Therefore Paula Red apples, will begin approximately August 6th this year. The other varieties to follow will similarly be early.  Please check with us to confirm the exact start dates of your favorites.

Of course we will have apples in the cold storage until New Year's Eve, but to get them at their just picked perfection, you'll need to plan a little earlier than usual. 

Gatehouse Market Opening Labor Day Weekend

We are very excited to be opening our 2nd location, the Gatehouse Market this Labor Day weekend.  The Gatehouse Market is located on the NW corner of US-127 and Gratiot County Line Rd.  It's just 3 miles from the orchard, but will provide easy access for all the those traveling North and South along US-127.

We are busy with all the remodeling of the old historic barn to be ready for the fall season.  Look for our signs on US-127, about 9 miles north of Saint Johns.


Summer Is Here

The crops keep growing.  We have a better idea on the size of the apple crop now that June drop had finished and the apples have grown enough so you get can see them better in the tree.

The crop will be extremely variable by variety this year.  Some varieties like McIntosh, Ida Red, and Jonagold seem to have a real nice crop.  Others like Cortland and Golden Delicious have a moderate crop.  Still others like Empire and Fuji are very light this year, and many of the apples we do have will have frost damage and will have to go into cider.

All in all it looks like we'll have between 1/2 to 2/3 of the crop we had last year.  That seems in line with the overall Michigan crop which is estimated at about 14 million bushel this year compared to 2009 crop of over 28 million bushel. 

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