ARLINGTON – The snowy, cold winter has been a mixed blessing for one Island orchardist.
© submitted photo
Barry Balsom, owner of Arlington, has released his second offering of Malpeque Cider. The Island orchardist said the snowy winter has put pruning efforts behind but set the table for an increase in the production of cider for 2014.
Barry Balsom, owner of Arlington Orchards said the deep snow has put pruning efforts behind.
“With the amount of snow and the cold, we’re three weeks behind in our pruning,” he said. “We’ll never catch that up. Now. We’ll just have to concentrate on what really needs to be done.”
He said although the pruning of trees is behind it won’t affect the quality of this year’s apple crop.
“You want to prune because it always helps the quality of the fruit,” Balsom said. “We’ve been pretty vigilant of doing the job to make sure that we keep our quality up. We’re going to be set back a little bit but we feel we’re in good shape this year because we’ve been so adamant in doing such a good, bang-up job out there.”
He said pruning is a very important step in creating high quality fruit and it has to be done.
“The quality shouldn’t be affect but we wouldn’t want to see a couple of years go like this,” he said. “That does catch up on you because we’re no growing trees, we’re growing fruit so you have to prune those trees in such a way that you get the optimum life to produce that high quality fruit that the public wants.”
Balsom and his staff are now clearing away snow to access the trees.
“We’ve pinched a road back in Orchard Lane and we’ll be punching out roads this week so we can access to get our equipment out.”
Balsom said they use air-pruners to do the work and they need to be transported by a loader.
While the pruning work has been cut back, the weather has allowed for a greater production of the orchard’s Malpeque cider.
Last year, Islanders got their first taste on the home brewed cider. It was two-and-a-half years in the making and became a popular product.
“The cold helped us get that high brix (sugar content),” he said. “When you’re making ice cider you have to have it naturally frozen from local apples. With the cold weather, you like to see about three or four days in a row of 20 below or lower. We’ve certainly had that this year. That’s allowed us to produce a very good yield of cider from this crop.”
He said they released cider from the 2013 cider that was produce from the 2012 apple crop about a week ago.
“It will take us about four or five months to make this crop of ice cider and we’ll have a lot of it to make,” Balsom said. “That’s really good.”
The newly release Malpeque Cider is available through the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission.