It is under protest that I have to strip apples off the Honey Crisp tree. It almost feels wasteful.
The tree is only 6 years old and this will be its third year of production. The first year of production yielded 5 apples on its spindly limbs, last year it had 26 apples, and this year there are 100’s of apples.
If I were to leave this many apples on the tree, none of them would grow to a decent size, they would all be stunted and too crowded to grow. The branches of the young tree to do not have sufficient caliper to withstand the weight of this many apples even if we propped the branches with 2×4 posts. The tree would break from the weight as the apples matured.
Today I will reluctantly go out with a bucket and thin out the bounty of fruit this little tree is trying to produce. Each little green golf ball sized apple will remind me of the sweet flavor that will be ripe fruit about the end of August.
And the thinned apples will not be wasted. The cows will benefit from this thinning. My ongoing job this time of year is to pick up any fruit that has fallen off the trees and feed them to the cows. Since the fruit that is falling is of a size that could be a choking hazard. I cut each apple in half before serving the treat to the show string. They salivate as I am cutting the apples, and dive right in as soon as I pour the bucket. Today they will get the thinned Honey Crisp apples.
The three month old calves had their first taste of apples a couple of weeks ago and they look forward to the fruit even though the apples are so green and hard that I have to cut them into slices just so they can chew them.