29 Sep, 2014 Peaches, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Apples, Oh My! The Twister Fruit Picker® Visits Three U-Pick Fruit Orchards!
We recently took The Twister Fruit Picker® on the road to visit three different U-pick fruit orchards in Oregon and Washington. We planned our trips so that we would be able to pick a variety of fruit with as much diversity as possible (soft vs. hard and small vs. large). We used it to pick peaches, pears, plums and apples and nectarines.
Our first stop was Bell’s Orchard in Beaverton, Oregon. Lloyd and Annette purchased the farm in 2005 “with a desire to establish an orchard which provides top quality fruit in a family friendly environment.” Most of their fruit trees (dwarf or semi-dwarf) are pruned to be short, but we found The Twister Fruit Picker® handy for reaching the uppermost fruit. A very old, standard-sized Italian plum tree also came with the purchase of the farm. It has grown approximately 20 feet tall with most of the plums located in the upper branches. This old tree has a fun personality with a face on the trunk and the upper branches resembling hair. The size of the plums required the use of the “small fruit adapters” – we gave Lloyd a quick lesson and soon he was picking plums with ease. If the plums were ripe, they separated easily from the tree. If they were not quite ripe, you could feel the difference. Lloyd noted that “the southwest side of any fruit tree will usually have the ripest fruit.” Once the tension was adjusted for a firmer grip, we also picked both Gravenstein and Honeycrisp apples with ease. The Twister Fruit Picker® also did a great job of picking fruit that had already fallen off the tree – no need to bend over.
Our next stop was Jossy Farms in Hillsboro, Oregon. This multigenerational, sustainable farm established in 1885 has 3000 peach trees, 250 apple trees and 250 Bartlett pear trees. Sammy and her brother Alex gave us a warm welcome. They are friends of the family, following in the footsteps of their grandmother, who worked on the farm in the 1970’s.
Veteran peaches were ripe and we were eager to use The Twister Fruit Picker® to pick the juicy, softer fruit from the semi-dwarf trees. We used it to reach the highest peaches in the tree and were able to easily pick without damage to the fruit or the tree. While standing on one side of the tree, we could readily reach across and pick peaches growing on the other side. The peaches could be picked faster because we didn’t need to move around very much to find that “perfect” peach. With a lighter tension on the pole, it was once again easy to feel if the peaches were ripe. The peaches smelled so good – they reminded us of summer at its very best! We couldn’t resist trying out a recipe for Peach and Blueberry Crumbles that we found on the Food Network website. Instead of baking it in ramekins, we used a 9×13 baking dish! It was so delicious that it disappeared before we could take a picture of the whole dessert. Yum!
Unlike apples, peaches or plums, pears do not ripen while on the tree. Most “ready to harvest” pears will usually detach easily from the tree when “tilted” to a horizontal position. Stark Bro’s has a great link for How to Tell When Pears are Ready to Harvest, including how to ripen them. Sammy was eager to start picking pears with The Twister Fruit Picker® and summed it all up: “It is fun to use! I don’t want to stop picking.”
In another trip, we visited Walters’ Fruit Ranch in Green Bluff, WA. According to their website, “A day at Walters’ Fruit Ranch is truly an assault on the senses that can’t fully be described without a visit to the rolling foothills of Eastern Washington.” We have been going there for many years while visiting family in the area and always enjoy our visit. This year we came home with sweet Honeycrisp apples, succulent Red Globe peaches and the juiciest and sweetest nectarines we have ever picked. Some of the sweetest nectarines were small, so the small fruit adapters that snap into the picking rings of The Twister Fruit Picker® really came in handy and helped us easily pick the fruit up in the sunny tops of the trees without damaging their tender skins.
We would like to thank Bell’s Orchard, Jossy Farms and Walters’ Fruit Ranch for their warm welcome. We appreciate their willingness to visit with us while we were using The Twister Fruit Picker® to harvest peaches, pears, plums, apples and nectarines. We hope that you will support and visit your favorite family U-pick orchard. Happy Picking!