Page 43 - The Hunt - Fall 2019
P. 43

                   Today, there are new varieties of apples and a more modern way of planting them. There’s also $40,000 of deer fencing and a 2017 document with the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County that forever preserves the farm as agricultural land. “If I didn’t see that through, I would’ve regretted it,” Barnard says.
On a tour of his farm, Barnard opens a large gate to a 14-acre block enclosed in deer fencing. It contains some $5,000 in new apple trees. Vertically trained to grow tall and narrow—so-called high-density axis planting—they don’t need to get topped like old-style dwarf trees. Without the fencing, he wouldn’t have apples to sell,
and deer damage would keep younger trees
from producing again. “Back then, there wasn’t the deer population,” he says. “We’ve squeezed them onto the land that’s left.”
Modern-day demand is for Honeycrisp apples, but they’re hard to grow. Of 100 bushels, 25 might be first grade, Barnard says. Temperate August nights are better for all apples—particularly Honeycrisp. The Stayman (reddish green) was always popular for its tender juiciness, but Fuji has surpassed it. Red Delicious, meanwhile, is losing traction. “It used to be that it couldn’t be considered an apple unless it was red, but now it’s almost the color no one wants,” says Barnard. “The new focus is on the inside, the flavor.”
Barnard can sell over 50 percent of his apple crop at retail value. The remainder—led by
“It used to be that it couldn’t be considered an apple unless it was red, but now it’s almost the color no one wants.”
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