We're pleased to announce the release of our newest cider, 'Wild at Heart'! Wild-fermented quince and heirloom apple cider was steeped with wild-foraged staghorn sumac from the farm to give this cider a beautiful peach-pink rosé hue. This is a bright, citrusy, lightly sparkling semi-dry cider, perfect for enjoying on a warm summer's day. 'Wild at Heart' is our small-batch Destination Cider offering, released in celebration of Hudson Valley Cider Week, and is only available by the glass on the farm (though we hope to bottle some soon). Stop by our newly-open Treasury Cider Garden on the weekends 12-6pm to try some! We expect to have it available through the summer.
Tuesday, May 15th we experienced extreme weather conditions that resulted in widespread damage throughout the Hudson Valley.
Thankfully, all of our staff is safe and sound, our livestock is unharmed, and our farm buildings and equipment experienced minimal to no damage.
The trees in our orchard were less fortunate. Localized winds of extreme force (deemed a Macroburst by the National Weather Service) touched down on our property at around 4:30pm Tuesday. They were stronger than we've ever experienced before, and caused severe damage to our orchard. One-year old apple trees were ripped out of the ground. Hundreds of lodge pine trellis posts were split in half, taking down entire trellis systems and allowing the wind to snap off thousands of apple trees at the base (unfortunately, that's no exaggeration). Massive 18 foot cherry trees were tipped and uprooted. We're still working on an exact count, but all in all we probably lost around three thousand trees- mostly Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Macoun and Jonagold apples. There's no way to brighten all this. Tuesday's storm wiped away a decade of hard work and investment by the team and the business. Unfortunately, there is currently no commercial insurance policy covering fruit trees, so the orchards themselves were not insured. If you'd like to help, please call or email your senator or representative to ask that federal disaster assistance dollars go to farms and local businesses affected by the storm.
Still, we have so much to be thankful for. The trees we lost represent about 25% of our current apple production- we have many thousands more in good shape. Our apricots, plums, and organic apple trees took minimal damage. Peaches and nectarines appear unharmed, as do our oldest stands: the Golden Delicious, Empire, McIntosh, Mutsu, Cortland, and Pears. There was some hail damage to our strawberries and vegetables, but we think they'll recover quickly.
In farming, there are challenges we must accept. Replanting over the coming years will be a significant job, but we're up to it. And despite all this, we're actually quite optimistic about the fruit crop this year. Most of all, we have a great team working to restore the orchard, and keeping spirits high. Today, we raised around 60 fallen cherry trees back up - mostly appear to still be healthy. The work will continue, the orchard will get better and the farm will go on.
Thank you all for your continued support- we couldn’t do it all without our community.
Today our amazing crew raced to get over 500 new trees planted before the rain tomorrow. The best time to get our trees in the ground is before substantial rain, this way Mother Nature does the necessary watering for us.
Among our new apple trees are Spanish hard cider varietals such as Coloradona and Collaos as well as Gin and Barland Perry pears for future Treasury Cider bottlings. 🍾
Stone fruit trees were also put in the ground today, including several varieties of yellow peaches and yellow nectarines. New to our farm is the peach variety Desiree, which will ripen as early as the first week of July, lengthening peach our season (normally beginning late July). We can expect to see fruit from these trees in two years!
Decisions as to where these new trees are planted pretty much determine how the orchard will look for the next 20 years!
So what’s this grafting business we’ve been talking about?
Grafting is the technique of joining the tissue of the budwood of one variety of fruit with the tissue of compatible rootstock. Essentially, we are taking the base of an existing apple tree of a certain variety and turning it into a different variety. This is a much faster way to change over varieties in the orchard than planting whole new trees.
Grafting must be done just before buds are formed and while the sap in the tree is rising. This is when the tree is still in a rapid growth stage and sending its energy upwards. The tree tissue is soft at this point and a scission is easily made and the graft receives the nutrients and energy needed to grow.
We brought in professional grafting duo Raul and Mary Godinez to work with members of our orchard team — Robin, Ninja and Stefran — to take on the task of completing more than 600 grafts.
How We Graft
The first task was to make a clean, horizontal cut taking down the leading branch (the tallest one in the center) to make way for the budwood. We left the surrounding branches intact as they are essential for providing the new graft with food photosynthesized from the robust leaves. These lower branches also offer the fresh grafts protection from the elements as they bond to the tree. At the end of summer, we’ll be able to remove the remaining branches and fully transition the tree to a new variety.
Skillfully, Raul sliced the budwood we cut from our trees in February, exposing the green flesh and placed them in the incision he made in the bark where the lead branch once stood. This type of grafting called a bark graft.
After the in-grafts were in place, we carefully secured them to the tree by wrapping them with common electrical tape. Finally, the graft was sealed with grafting paint to protect and bond the graft. Both the electrical tape and the grafting paint will expand as the tree grows.
As long as the grafts take to the existing tree, we can expect fruit from them within two to three years!
What We Grafted
Included in our collection of grafts are Pink Pearl (a trendy sweet-tart), Newtown Pippins (a tart heirloom and a favorite for @treasurycider), Porter’s Perfection (a rot-resistant and powerful hard cider variety), Gravenstein (an aromatic summer apple), Jonagold (a classic, delicious favorite) and Piñata (brand new with a “tropical twist”) apples.
We’re always looking for ways to improve our orchard whether it’s adding more of your favorites varieties, adding new and delicious varieties you can’t find in stores, or replacing rot-susceptible varieties of apples with ones that are more disease resistant for more sustainable farming, we’re dedicated to providing the best produce for our local community.
Delve into the diversification of Fishkill Farms and our expansion in the market of hard cider and tasting room experience as we seek new opportunities to use our produce as well as new and exciting ways for our customers to enjoy them.
Read the Poughkeepsie Journal Article
Treasury cider has gotten a new pop of color and better yet, a new pop of flavor! Since October of 2017 we have released four out of the seven bottlings–yes you heard that correctly–seven bottlings!
The apples were harvested fall 2016, pressed on our antique rack and cloth press, fermented and aged for a year and are now ready to taste! It’s a long process to get from the tree to the bottle and if you haven't had a chance to try them yet, we highly recommend it. Tastings are available every day from 12pm-6pm in our farm store.
Stay tuned because this winter we will be releasing our final three bottlings to complete the 2017 collection.