The Pulford Appltree Orchard was founded by John and Becky Pulford in 1981. The original U-pick orchard was located on Goodrick Road just off of HWY 58. The Goodrick orchard was farmed until 1988 when a new, better location was chosen for the planting of the current orchard on Highline Road. In the spring of 1994 over 2,000 trees, including 13 different varieties, were planted at the existing orchard and in the Fall of 1996 the first crop was harvested. After the addition of several new varieties through the years, Pulford Appletree Orchard now consists of 19 different varieties that are harvested between late August and early November.
Many are under the impression that apple farming requires only a three-month commitment at harvest time and that the remaining months of the year are free from work. While the harvest of the apples is approximately three months in duration, the actual farming process is a year round commitment.
During the winter months all of the trees are pruned to rid the tree of unproductive wood and promote new growth in the coming season. The pruning is done in the winter months while the trees are dormant. Once the pruning is complete the prunings are removed from the orchard and discarded. During the winter months it is also extremely important to keep the centers of the tree rows tilled in order to maximize water absorption.
Once the pruning is finished and the rainy season is on its way out the door, the apple blossoms begin to set. This season, referred to as "bloom-time,” generally spans over six weeks. During the time that the bloom is set, the tree is most susceptible to disease and frost damage. Just as humans take vitamins to maintain good health during the flu season, the apple trees are given nutrients in the form of fertilizer to help maintain their health during bloom-time. After the blossoms have fallen the fruit begins to grow.
Apples, at their youngest age of formation, are approximately the size of a cherry seed. Once the apples have reached approximately ¾ of one inch in diameter it is time to begin thinning. Thinning is the process of clipping out the smaller fruit and eliminating large clusters. The chief goal of thinning is to eliminate the smaller, weaker fruit so that the growing energy is directed towards the larger, healthier fruit. Thinning takes place in late May and lasts until late June.
Another essential task that is performed during the same time of late May through late June is that of weed control. It is very important to maintain a clean, weed-free orchard so that work, especially harvesting, can be done with ease. During the months of June -September, water is applied approximately three times per week to the orchard. Watering is extremely important for the health of the tree and the quality/size of the fruit. During the month of July the fruit begins to size rapidly and more nutrients are given to maintain optimal health.
At the end of July and the beginning of August preparations begin for the harvest and sales season. Towards mid to late August the harvest begins with the Gala variety. The harvest generally lasts through the end of October and fresh apples are usually available through the beginning of November. Once the harvest and sales are complete, the cycle immediately begins again!
Apple farming at the ten acre Pulford Appltree Orchard is a year round commitment that demands a dedicated team of workers and specialists of six to ten people to ensure that the operations run smoothly from the time the first blossom opens to the time the last apple is sold.
We strive to provide an inviting setting for families, friends, social groups and school kids to come to for the purposes of enjoying the cool mountain climate, learning about agriculture, and enjoying top quality mountain grown apples. It is our goal to make sure that every customer from near and far experiences the “apple experience” to the fullest.