Driving along the tree lined avenue to the Apple Farm in Moorstown (near Cahir) on the last day of November, I was expecting everything to be very quiet. Instead, it was quietly busy.
|Con, with a fairly mature plum tree|
Technique and timing are each important in the out of season work, especially in the pruning of the trees, and owner Con Traas is confident in the skills of his crew.
Con, whose family came here from Holland in the late 60s, was at his desk, working on the winter edition of The Apple Club Newsletter. Typical of the man, the 1500 copies are printed on recycled paper.
He plays a leading role in the food community in Tipperary, always keen to promote a good product (not just from Tipp) and always keeping an eye on the big supermarkets, especially on their “special” offers.
Con may be vastly experienced in fruit farming but is always willing to learn. He had a PhD student in during the summer studying the bumble bees on the farm and Con learned that he had five species. The student learned a lot and so did Con: “I now know for sure that, if I want plenty of bees to be there to pollinate my apple trees, that I must do my utmost to ensure…plenty of flowering plants to feed my bees when the apples themselves are not in flower.”
Con took time off from the computer to take us on a tour, starting in the shop which is so well stocked with fruit, jams and juices. Then we saw his new processing shed, white and bright and nearing completion. While much of the work in the fields is manual, processing is largely mechanical as we saw when we visited the sorting and juicing areas.
Apple Storage too is pretty high-tech as they are kept in a Controlled Atmosphere within the containers. The amount of oxygen, controlled within the container, plays a big role here in keeping the apples nice and fresh and crispy for you when you need them, even a few months from now.
Then, back to the shop to fill the bags with loads of juice, including my favourite, The Sparkling Irish Apple Juice, fruit (eating and cooking apples) and also lots of jam (mainly the plum, another favourite).