As true apple connoisseurs know, terroir, or the place where apples are grown, defines how good they are. We believe our apples taste better because of where they’re grown – in the shadow of New York’s Catskill Mountains, away from the hotter, humid areas of the Hudson Valley. But it is how they’re grown that is the icing on the cake ……we use only organic and holistic methods to build the fertility of the orchards and control the pests. And it is for these reasons, and lots of TLC, that our trees give us the most flavorful fruit around.
Westwind Orchard’s iconic old trees include common New England apple varieties like Cortland, McIntosh, Stayman, and Idared, as well as standards like Red and Golden Delicious to complement newer varieties like Macouns and Spartans.
In the past few years, we’re planted CrimsonCrisp and GoldRush, some “new” Heirloom varieties……Golden Russet, Margil, Roxbury Russet and Reinette Zabergau…..and more recently HoneyCrisp, Crimson Topaz, Enterprise, Crimson Gold, as well as some Asian, Bosc and Bartlett Pears. This year, we’re planning for even more orchards that will include rare English and French cider varieties, as well as more North American heirlooms.
Out with old and in with the new is NOT our motto. We treasure the legacy of the old trees, while embracing the new ones in a way that gives Westwind Orchard, and you, a flavor of this farm’s past, present, and future—all in one, nice edible package: our apples.
Pears in general are very susceptible to a devastating bacterial disease called fireblight. Most people don’t know that the global origin for fireblight was right here in New York, near West Point. Fireblight was single handedly responsible for destroying the the New York pear industry back in the late 1960s. Some fireblight resistant varieties have started to be grown, but still pale in comparison to the quality of many heirloom varieties.
Blake’s Pride was developed at the USDA Kearneysville WV research station and is a fairly new introduction from this program. Its real claim to fame is that it is resistant to fireblight, making it a perfect pear to grow in New York’s climate. It sports a yellow to light golden hue and has a distinctive blend of sugars, acids and other flavors and aromas making it one of the few new pears that can hold a candle to the great heirloom varieties of lore. It ripens from mid- to late August.
Magness is by many accounts the finest pear around. It was released in 1968 by the USDA as an homage to John Magness, longtime director of USDA apple and pear research. Although it is difficult to bring to bear, its New York origins, excellent lineage (Comice x Seckel), great flavor and fireblight resistance make it a favorite of consumers and growers alike. It presents medium-large, ruddy yellow, slightly russeted fruit with a buttery, rich, highly perfumed flesh with honeyed juice. They ripen about a week after Bartlett.
Like Blake’s Pride and Magness, the Potomac pear was also released by the USDA [in 1993]. It is a cross between Moonglow and Anjou and is one of the highest quality fireblight resistant varieties available. It has a light green skin and glossy flesh with moderately fine flavor similar to Anjou. The fruit is sweet and juicy with buttery flesh and ripens two weeks after Bartlett. It ripens about two weeks after Bartlett and keeps 8-10 weeks in refrigeration.
Asian pears, or Nashi, are not that new to the US, but still relatively few consumers know much about them. Different in shape and flavor than European pears, they are round and have lighter, more subtle juice.
Shinko pears are from pre-WWII Japan and likely have the famous Nijisseiki as one of its parents. They have great texture and a crisp refreshingly sweet flavor. They are large and round without the conical shape of other similar types like Shin Go. They are fully russeted with a thick skin similar to Kosui. They ripen mid-September, earlier than Hosui, and store well into the winter.
Olympic pears are also known as Korean Giant and A-Ri-Rang. The fruit is large – obviously – round and has an attractive golden russeted skin that ripens to a golden brown in early fall. The flesh is very crisp, juicy, and sweet with a mild spicy edge. Each Korean Giant fruit can weigh more than a pound! and has the longest storage life of any Asian pear.
We’ve been planting Raspberries since 2009 ever since this amazing pomologist suggested it was a great crop to grow alongside apples. We started with Caroline (red fall raspberries), Anne (Yellow fall raspberries), before adding the awesome heirloom (truly!) variety Heritage (red fall raspberries). We had a few outstanding seasons and have since added Himbo Tops, an amazing variety bred specifically for organic growing!!! We fertilize the crop and keep the weeds at bay with our own composted wood chips and manure made special from goats and horses just around the corner from our farm.