|Home Acres Orchard|
Home Acres Orchard is located about 40 miles south of Missoula in the Bitterroot Valley. We are situated about 400 feet above the valley floor up on the east bench between Stevensville and Corvallis. We started our orchard in 1989, grafting the trees ourselves, while at the same time building a house, putting in fencing, irrigation and utilities. Our 2500 plus trees are planted on 5 acres and the rest of our 40 acres is in pasture. We were Certified Organic in 1994, and have maintained that status until 2006, when we helped to start the Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union.
Given the fact that an orchard by definition is a monoculture, our goal has been to achieve a kind of diversity within this definition. We have planted 18 varieties of apples, 6 varieties of pears, and 3 varieties of Asian pears. Of our stone fruit, we have several varieties of apricots, two varieties of pie cherries, and 4 varieties of plums. In addition, we have many plantings of berries, nuts and wildlife hedges. We maintain a rich diverse understory beneath and in between the trees made up of clovers, medics, grasses, wildflowers and herbs. This understory encourages a strong population of beneficial insects, which in turn helps to maintain a natural ecological balance in our orchard. The wildlife plantings offer safe haven and food for many birds, which also help to control insect levels. In addition, it supports a diverse population of wild pollinators, which eliminates the need to bring in honeybees every year.
We use a wide variety of other controls to protect our crop from the many diseases and insects which prey on fruit. For instance, we use mating disruption to prevent coddling moth damage. Pheromone emitters are placed on every tree at the beginning of the season to prevent the male moths from finding the female moths. We have also brought in beneficial insects when the spring is especially cold and our native insects are slow to get started.
|Although our main fruit crop is apples, our season starts in July when our pie cherries are ripe, quickly followed by apricots and early summer apples. Then the pears and plums ripen and finally the late fall apples. We sell our fruit at the Missoula Farmer’s Market and the Clark Fork River Market from August through October and at the Good Food Store in Missoula and the Community Food Co-op in Bozeman. In addition, our fruit is available at the University of Montana. Of course you can also purchase our fruit direct at our orchard. Please call first for an appointment.|
Home Acres Orchard Fruit Descriptions:
LODI - Originated in 1911 in New York. Montgomery X Yellow Transparent cross. Extra early, large green cooking apple. Clear yellow skin; juicy, mildly sub acid white flesh. Fine white sauce, great for early pies and canned slices.
DUCHESS OF OLDENBURG - Originated in Russia in the 1800’s. Grandparent of Northern Spy and McIntosh. Early medium size apple with greenish to pale yellow skin with crimson stripes and splashes. Makes excellent pies and sauces, good for fresh eating when fully ripe.
SUMMERRED Open pollinated seedling of Summerland. Developed in Canada, 1964. Early ripening, bright red fruit with crisp juicy flesh. Good eating and cooking apple. Tart flavor when picked slightly green. Mellow, sweet flavor when completely ripe.
STATE FAIR - Originated at University of Minnesota in 1979. Mantet X Red Delicious cross. Early medium size apple brilliantly striped with reddish orange over a yellow background. Creamy flesh is juicy, aromatic, sweet and firmer than most early varieties. Moderately sub acid flavor. Excellent for fresh eating.
EARLIGOLD A very early ripening cross of Gold Delicious. Crisp, juicy and slightly tart. Good for fresh eating. Doesn’t store well.
McINTOSH - Introduced in Ontario, Canada in 1870 and named after the farmer who crossed a Famuese with a Detroit Red. It went on to much fame and crossbreeding, lending its good genes to several well-known varieties. The original tree yielded its last crop in 1908 and a stone memorial now marks the site. Medium to large dark red fruit with tender thin skin, crisp white flesh, and a tart spicy flavor. Makes an aromatic cider. Excellent for fresh eating.
SPARTAN - Developed at British Columbia Station in 1936. McIntosh x Newtown Pippin cross. Medium size, dark red, almost mahogany apple buffs nicely. Pure white flesh, firmer than McIntosh. Highly aromatic, fine flavor. Superb for eating fresh.
FAMEUSE Also called Snow Apple. Originated from French seed planted in Canada in the late 1600’s. Introduced to the U.S. in 1730. Parent of McIntosh. Also called Snow Apple because of its pure white flesh, occasionally stained crimson near the skin. Tender, spicy, aromatic, distinctive flavor. Excellent for cider, fresh eating, and cooking.
SWEET SIXTEEN - Developed by the University of Minnesota in 1978. Malinda x Northern Spy. Red striped conic fruit. Aromatic, moderately acid, firm, crisp, cream-colored flesh. Unique, pleasing, faintly nutty flavored. Rates high as a pie, sauce, and dessert apple.
WOLF RIVER - A seedling found growing along the banks of the Wolf River near Fremont, Wisconsin in 1875, thought to have sprung from a Russian variety called Alexander. Enormous fruit, often 1lb or more. Soft, tender, creamy white flesh. Best known for its kitchen talent, particularly for apple butter and may be dried to good advantage. The slightly tart flavor has character.
JONAGOLD- - Introduced in New York in 1968. Golden Delicious x Jonathon. Large fruit striped red over bright yellow. Creamy yellow flesh is firm and juicy. An excellent dessert apple, it has the aroma of Golden Delicious and the sprightliness of Jonathon.
MELROSE - Official Ohio State apple. Introduced in 1944. Red Delicious x Jonathon. Large flattened fruit with yellowish green skin, flushed and streaked dark red and russet. Firm coarse, juicy creamy white flesh. Slightly acid flavor. Very good cooking and dessert quality. Excellent storage quality. Develops a fruity aroma and a nutty flavor after keeping.
LIBERTY - Developed in 1978 by the New York State Agricultural experimental station, as a disease resistant variety. Macoun x Purdue cross. Medium size fruit with pale yellow flesh is crisp, juicy, with a sprightly flavor, somewhat resembling a Macoun. Flavor intensifies in storage. It holds on to its personality in recipes.
GALA - Introduced in New Zealand in 1965 by J.H. Kidd, crossing Golden Delicious with his own Kidd’s Orange Red, itself a Cox’s Orange cross. Heavy red striping on golden skin, the pale creamy yellow flesh is crisp and dense, with a mild sweet flavor and good aroma. Can be bland when cooked, but can be dried or used in cider blends with good results.
HONEYGOLD - Introduced in 1935 in Minnesota as a short season alternative to Golden Delicious. It is a cross of that variety and Haralson. Medium to large golden to yellowish green fruit with smooth finish and reddish bronze blush. Flavor is sweet, and improves with storage.
HONEYCRISP - Released in 1992 by the University of Minnesota. Macoun x Honeygold cross. Fruit is mottled red over yellow ground color. Very crisp, juicy flesh has excellent eating and keeping qualities.
GINGER GOLD An early Gold Delicious cross, Ginger Gold has a sweet, tangy flavor and firm, crisp flesh. It was named for Ginger Harvey, in whose orchard this chance seedling was found.
VALSTAR This is an early ripening, French version of the Elstar, a popular European apple developed in Holland. It has an excellent sweet-tart flavor and crisp texture.
SUMMER CRISP Developed at the University of Minnesota in 1986 as an early ripening pear with the crunch and juiciness of an Asian pear. These are medium size fruit with sweet crisp flesh, and a slightly aromatic flavor. They are a refreshing summer treat.
HARROW DELIGHT Developed at the Harrow Research Station in Canada, they are similar to a Bartlett, but earlier and slightly smaller. The ripe fruit are juicy and melting, good for canning and excellent dried.
TYSON Also known as the Early Sugar Pear. Very similar to a Seckel, these small fruit are juicy, with a spicy-sweet flavor. They would be excellent for kids’ snacks or combined with baby greens in a salad or poached in wine for an elegant dessert.
LUSCIOUS Introduced by South Dakota State University in 1967 especially for Northern Great Plains, this fruit turns bright yellow with a red blush when ripe. It is an excellent dessert pear, not well suited for canning, but great for pear butter. The flavor is similar, but more intense than a Bartlett, sweet and juicy, but firm.
MAXINE Developed in Ohio in 1923 and also known as Starking Delicious, these are large golden yellow fruit firm, crisp, juicy, snow-white flesh that is slightly reminiscent of Asian pears. Good for eating fresh, canning and preserves.
FLEMISH BEAUTY Originating in Belgium around 1830, it was first known as Fondante de Boise or Sweetmeat of the Woods. When ripe, the skin is yellow with a marbled red blush. The flesh is firm, becoming melting and tender, with a sweet, aromatic, slightly musky flavor. It is an excellent keeper and a favorite for drying.
ASIAN PEARS (Shinseiki, Kikusiu, and Chojuro) These roundish fruit are crisp and juicy like an apple when ripe, with a sweet, refreshing and mildly aromatic flavor. The russeted fruit tend to be thicker-skinned and better keepers, while the greenish yellow ones are more tender. Use Asian pears for fresh eating, in salads, or your favorite pear chutney recipe.