After a few sunny days and warmer temperatures, the buds in the orchard have popped and started to bloom.
The flowers are blossoming in clusters. There are usually 3-4 blossoms on each branch. The center bud is called the "king blossom" and will open first. It will most likely become the larger apple on the branch.
People will often ask us if our apples are organic. We use a system called IPM or Integrated Pest Management. It is a "soft" chemical control to help keep the pests away. IPM is far superior method to keep the apples healthy compared to other organic sprays. It significantly reduces the amount of spraying required and leads to a much lower emission of diesel fuel into the environment.
Now that the blooms are out, it's time for the bees to get to work! The blossoms require cross pollination from a variety of trees in order to grow apples, and this happens with the help of honey bees. In our orchard, we have a huge variety of wild pollinators.
In fact in 2019, we participated in a University of Toronto study that recorded 300% more wild pollinators in our orchard than the average orchard. Other than honey bees, they observed a total of 38 bee species, including two bumble bee species that is thought to be in serious decline, the yellow-banded bumble bee Bombus terricola and the golden northern bumble bee Bombus fervidus.
We ensure that our fields are full of clover and other bee-friendly plants to help the bees stay safe and bless us with a fruitful harvest!