The Crop Pros visit Manitree Farms
By Elliott Vince
On Saturday, June 24th, 2017 at 9:00 AM, the Merlin 4-H Crop Pros had a meeting at Manitree Farms. Mr. Brian Rideout was our tour guide. He told us that at Manitree Farms they grow grows apples, cherries, freestone peaches, apricots, pears, nectarines, strawberries, squash, and melons.
He described about the scheduling and different needed temperatures for harvesting and growing the crops. He said that even the slightest change of temperatures or too much rain can be extremely harmful to the crops. He also explained about the different times that they harvest the crop. Since there any many types of crops at Manitree Farms, there are many different harvesting times.
He brought us to a cold room where they bring the apples to speed up the process of ripening. When the room is full of apples, the oxygen levels help ripen the apples. Oxygen levels can get as low as 2%. He said that they need to wear special suits when they enter those cold rooms, because the cold temperatures and the low oxygen levels can be harmful.
Mr. Rideout took us to a room where there was a very big conveyor belt along with other machinery. He told us that the conveyor belt was used for measuring fruits and vegetables so they can fit sizes that companies want.
Brian took us to a young apple orchard and explained how the new pheromone sticks are used to eliminate certain insects. The pheromones help to greatly reduce the use of the pesticides.
He brought us on a tour and showed us what he called “the June drop”. He said that the tree will change phases during June, so the peaches will drop. There were a few peaches on the ground, but many were still growing in the trees.
He took us to the sour cherry section of the farm, and he described the shaking process, where they will shake the sour cherries to get the sour cherries into the machinery. Different types of cherry trees need different equipment to get the cherries out of the trees, because sometimes the machinery is too hard on the cherries so the cherries fall into the machinery and split.
He showed us the apple orchard. He explained about how apples grow and and the different types of apples and the requirements they need to grow like how every type of apple is a hybrid of two types of apples. He said that they have a new orchard and an old orchard. In the old orchard there are (windows) holes in the trees.
After that, the tour was over and we had our meeting. First, we said the 4-H pledge. Then, we went over old business and upcoming events and meetings in our club. We then judged ropes for best holding a box. Most of us chose the ropes based on thickness and length. And finally, the meeting was adjourned.