‘Tis The Time When Donuts Shine; Pick Your Own Heirloom Apples, Geek Out on Fruit History & Habits; Pick Prized Mutsu Apples; Cut Your Own Brussels Sprouts; Enjoy Old-Time Cider & Fresh Donuts.


Farm is open 7 days a week 8:00 to 7:00 rain or shine • Pick your own Mutsu, Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel apples • Cut your own Brussels sprouts • Eat fresh cider donuts Fri, Sat, and Sun 11:00 to 6:00 • Now filling your 5-gallon cider carboys, see details below • All pumpkins are GONE for 2020 • Goodies at the stand = apples, sprouts, squashes, cider jugs, cider slushees, hot spiced cider, donuts, honey, syrup • COVID rules include (1) Keep SAFE distance, (2) wear MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your KIDS, (4) BYOBags for picking produce • Drive slowwwwly on the farm • Thank you for being rational and compassionate Farmketeers


DEAR FARMKETEERS:  The nation seems more polarized than ever.  Who is to blame?  Conservative bullies?  Liberal liars?  The 1%?  The lawless hordes?  And will we succumb to something sinister, or rally the forces of hope and positive change?  Well, small chance we will settle these puzzlers in this Fresh Crop Alert.  But there is ONE THING we can agree on:  Robots are people, too.  And they have a home at The ‘Creek.

Yes, human-robot relations have never been better, especially here on the farm, where Nick the Donut Kid and the Mark 2 Donut Robot have teamed up to serve more donuts this year than any 2 years combined.  Holey flaming doughball statistics!  You can get fresh cider donuts every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 6:00, until we give “NickMark” the Cyborg a rest for the off-season, which could be PRETTY SOOOOON!  So come now, People of the Donut.  The Donuttic Duo is still churning out these freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  Just whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.”  Meanwhile, for you purists – you who think the purpose of an apple is to be eaten out of hand, not squeezed into juice that’s poured into dough then sold over the counter as a deep-fried abomination – you can still pick apples.  In fact this might be your last chance to pick four prized late-season varieties, and geek out good and proper on pomological lore.  In this week’s edition, we present Mutsu, Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, and Ashmead’s Kernel, with detailed dossiers straight from our fruit tree nursery catalog. Please read on…

Pick your own Mutsu apples.  The Million Dollar Apple from Japan.  Also known as Crispin

“The tree is vigorous and large; it will need extra space in the orchard.  A triploid, Mutsu should be grown with two diploid pollenizers for full fertility.  It is somewhat susceptible to fireblight, scab, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust, and it will need to be thinned to maintain annual bearing.  It is also highly susceptible to blister spot, but this is a cosmetic issue that will be of concern only to commercial growers.  Trees may need scoring to force buds low on the trunk to form scaffold limbs.  Mutsu has a comparatively low chill hours requirement (500-600 hours).”

“These apples are really, really big.  They are the last major crop at our u-pick farm in Ithaca, NY, and they have a faithful following of pickers who come every year to finish the apple season by packing as many pumpkin-sized Mutsus as they can carry into a sack or a laundry basket.  It’s an excellent eating apple, and it makes first-class juice, pie, and sauce.  The fruit is large, oblong, and irregular.  The smooth greenish-yellow skin is waxy and clear with a copper blush, and the dense flesh is crisp, juicy, and coarse-grained with a sprightly flavor.  The fruit does not shrivel when stored, and holds flavor through winter.  Some growers report issues with bitter pit, but we have not seen this.”

“Mutsu was developed in 1937 as a cross between Golden Delicious and Indo.  From the Aomori Research Station, Kurioshi, Japan, it was introduced to the US in 1948.  In Japan, Mutsu is known as the Million Dollar Apple, and sells at very high prices.  Individual fruits are often grown in paper bags on the tree, causing them to develop a crystal yellow or pinkish color, but the bagging diminishes flavor.”

Pick your own Golden Russet apples.  A prized heirloom for fresh eating and cider. Also known as American Golden Russet and Bullock

“Golden Russet is vigorous, productive, and a reliable annual cropper (an uncommon quality for an heirloom).  It is resistant to scab and cedar-apple rust, but susceptible to fireblight.  Care should be taken when pruning, as this is a tip-bearing tree.”

“This apple is one of the most prized among apple connoisseurs, ranking with Cox’s Orange Pippin in terms of flavor quality.  It is a medium-sized apple that is russeted bronze over greenish gold and speckled with white lenticels.  The flesh is creamy and dense, yielding a rich, aromatic juice that is high in sugar and acid and low in tannin.  Golden Russet is highly esteemed among cider makers for its ability to reliably produce excellent juice, and it is often used for single-variety ciders.  The fruit stores exceptionally well, remaining crunchy and flavorful throughout winter.  Tasters often describe the flavor of Golden Russet as ‘nutty,’ but this doesn’t even begin to capture the delightful intensity of its honeyed sweetness.  [Per Washington State University:  Tannin (percent tannic acid): 0.10; Acid (percent malic acid): 0.66; pH: 3.58; SG: 1.061; oBrix 15.4.]”

“Golden Russet is one of the more difficult varieties to pin down. Over the years, dozens of different apples have been so named and contradictory descriptions of the various Golden Russets abound.  In Apples of North America, Tom Burford says that he once made a list of more than twenty apples that have been referred to as Golden Russet.  These days, there appear to be two commonly sold variants in North America.  The Golden Russet at Indian Creek Farm ripens later than the other variant—at the end of October in Upstate NY.  The russeting is extensive, with almost no smooth patches.  It is closest in form to what Beach in Apples of New York calls ‘Bullock’ or ‘American Golden Russet.'”

Pick your own Roxbury Russet apples.  One of America’s oldest apples, good for storage, baking, and cider. Also known as Belpre Russet, Boston Russet, Hewe’s Russet, Putnam Russet, Leather Coat

“A cold-hardy, high vigor, open-spreading tree, Roxbury is triploid and will require two diploid pollenizers for full fertility.  Reports on disease resistance vary wildly; in our orchards we find that it is mildly susceptible to all major diseases, but that its vigorous growth tends to outpace these problems.  It has a slight tendency (easily managed by thinning) to biennialism.”

“This late-season apple is large, green-gold, and covered with a fine russet that thickens toward the stem.  The flesh is hard, granular, and crunchy.  Almost inedibly tart when first harvested, it will sweeten and mellow in storage.  Roxbury is an excellent baker, and it is a favorite with cider makers.  It needs to be harvested promptly as it has a tendency to drop, but it will store well through the winter.”

“Along with Rhode Island Greening, this is one of the oldest varieties native to America.  It first grew on the farm of Ebenezer Davis in Roxbury, Massachusetts, early in the 1600s.  In the late 1700s, it was brought to Marietta, Ohio, and sold by Putnam Nursery under the names Putnam Russet and Marietta Russet.  It was also known as Shippens Russet in New York for a brief period, when it was cultivated by Chief Justice Shippen.”

Pick your own Ashmead’s Kernel apples.  An intensely flavored heirloom apple prized by connoisseurs and cider makers.  Also known as Ashmead, Ashmeads

“The tree has an upright-spreading habit.  It has moderate disease resistance and blooms late enough to avoid most frosts.  The fruit needs to be thinned to maintain annual bearing.  Ashmead’s has been confirmed to be triploid; it should not be used as a pollenizer, and two diploid pollenizers are required for full pollination.”

“Ashmead’s is an old variety that is reputed to have been first cultivated from a seedling in Gloucester, England, in the early 1700’s by the lawyer William Ashmead.  The appearance of the fruit is interesting; it is a small to midsized apple with a russeted honey-green skin that ripens to an orange blush under the russet.  At our farmstand, some customers comment that “it looks like a potato.”  Biting into an Ashmead’s, however, reveals a dense, nutty flesh bursting with honeyed zing.  The flavor is intense and complex, high in both sugar and acid, and the juice is prized by cider makers.”

“Steve Wood of Farnum Hill Ciders describes Ashmead’s as ‘a delicious trip to that fine line between pleasure and pain,’ and he finds that it adds ‘mad florals’ and tropical notes to cider blends.  While the acidity of the fresh-picked fruit might not agree with some tastes, Ashmead’s mellows with age, and an October harvest is best stored for eating around Christmas, when notes of pear, spice, and orange blossom will emerge.  This extraordinary and versatile apple has recently enjoyed renewed popularity among apple aficionados and is one of our best sellers.” 

If you have read this far, maybe you are an apple aficionado, too!  And now, on to sprouts.

Cut your own Brussels sprouts.  Also known as BROUTS for short.  Stirfry with bacon or fakin’ and feel the nutrients flow.  In one of our best signage decisions ever, you will find the sprouts in the patch marked “SPROUTS.”  We have removed the leaves from the stalks that are ready.  Cut the whole stalk; don’t pick individual sprouts since that wrecks the plant.  Don’t be a plant wrecker.  Be a sprout lover.  You can also find stalks at the farm stand if you don’t want to cut your own.  These are a great party trick – who shows up with sprout stalks?!  They work almost as well on Zoom parties.

There are no pumpkins on the farm.  You PICKED EVERY SINGLE ONE and you also CLEANED OUT THE FARM STAND PILE. A person might say, “You ‘Creekniks went all ‘Creeknik on those pumpkins.”  Thank you and sorry to the late-comers.  Just to be clear and avoid disappointed little faces, there are no pumpkins here for the rest of 2020 – no biggies, no tinies, no carvers or painters.  A few thousand found their forever homes.

Get CIDER every day.  This is the 8th week of “Orchard Ambrosia” – our 100% unpasteurized, old-fashioned, nothing-added cider.  You can get gallon and half-gallon jugs.  Freezes great.  It’s just apples and maybe a few pears, cold-pressed into juice.  It gets better every week as the apple blend complexifies. 

Homebrew cider fans, get your carboys filled NOW.  Bring your 5-gallon carboys to Indian Creek and we will fill them with 100% unpasteurized cider for $35 each (only $7/gallon) OR $6/gallon when you buy 10-45 gallons (2-9 carboys) OR $5/gallon when you get 50 gallons (10 carboys).  As of today the ever-changing blend includes Cortland, Gala, Spy, McIntosh, Liberty, Fortune, Honeycrisp, and more.  Leave your carboys inside the double doors at the farm stand with your name and number attached.  We will call you when filled.

Please BRING YOUR OWN BAGS for picking fruits and vegetables.  You can fill your bags as you wander the orchards, then set them on the scale at checkout, and we will ring you out without touching your bags.  You can also buy our totes which you might have seen around town.

Amidst the stress and strife of this year, we hope you all can find some fall feels.  Thank you @mellcasey.

Love to y’all.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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