Here it is well into April and it is a typical Nebraska weather pattern; that is – wait a minute and the weather will change. Last year at this time we were in full bloom and nervous that the frosts would damage the flowers. This year we are patiently waiting for bud break. Even though we have experienced some record cold temperatures recently, we are still looking at a closer-to-normal type of spring than we have experienced in a few years. So, the big question is…when will the trees bloom? Well, right now it is hard to say, but I’m thinking we should see some color toward the end of April and into early May. Not promising but giving a good estimation.
We have finally finished pruning all the apple trees and are now working on the grapes. Grapes require an extreme amount of pruning to keep them under control, as the participants of our recent grape workshop found out. Everyone was surprised at how much wood is removed from the vine to keep the vine growth in check and bearing fruit to the fullest potential.
As the weather becomes a little more favorable, we will be getting ready for the first planting of the season. This year we will be planting 350 new Montmorency cherry trees. The Montmorency cherry is a variety of cherry that has been in cultivation for over 400 years. It is a type of cherry that is acclimated to our region and produces a wonderful crop of plump, tart cherries that are used in pies and juice. The Montmorency cherry is the earliest ripening tree fruit at Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard. Typically, the Montmorency cherries are ripe in late June and early July. People flock from miles around to pick these gems of tart deliciousness. Once our guests pick their cherries, they can have our crew process them through our antique cherry pitting machine. People are amazed at how you can put a bucket of cherries into the machine and in a few minutes have pitless cherries to go home with.
The month of April also brings us Arbor Day. This year in conjunction with Arbor Day weekend, Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard is hosting the Grand Opening of the Pollinator Playground on Saturday, April 28, at 10:30 AM featuring Heisman Trophy winner and playground designer Eric Crouch . The day is filled with fun activities for the family such as exploring the Nature Trail, free hayrack rides, face painting and balloon tying. We will also be receiving the Prestigious Tree award from the Nebraska City Chamber of Commerce for a stately cottonwood tree located on the property that is estimated to be almost 180 years old. For a listing of all the day’s activities, visit kimmelorchard.org.
So, once again I would also like to take this opportunity to invite everyone out to visit Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard. We strive to make it a new experience each time you visit us. We guarantee that there is always something new to learn or see at Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard.
Vaughn Hammond – Orchard Operations and Education Team Leader
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