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Apples | Vegetables | Honey

Apples:

We love apples at Miller's! More than 125 years ago, our Miller's ancestors planted the first apple tree on the farm, and over the decades each generation has worked to enhance the orchards. Like a birthright, the orchardist alchemy (it's both a science and an art) has been passed from one Miller scion to the next. Despite our myriad other priorities on the farm, the orchards have remained a centerpiece.

In an effort to balance our commitment to sustainable agriculture and nutrient-density, we employ a low-spray orchard management program. We are diligently working to nourish the soil in our orchards (sometimes even by partnering with our chicken and pigs!) so that our trees are strong enough to resist disease, pests and environmental harshness. And at Miller's, we don't believe in picking apples early in their life-cycle simply so that we can ship them thousands of miles away to supermarket customers. First off, we think apples always taste better if they're eaten locally! But more than that, we like to say that we "mimic nature" as much as possible. When it comes to harvesting apples, that means we wait until the apples are ripe and mature before we harvest, and not a moment earlier.

We do not wax our apples before sale nor do we dip them in post-harvest fungicides. Waxing exposes the apples to extreme heat which softens the skin and flesh, reducing both the apple's natural crispiness and its storage life. And it's simply not necessary; like putting make-up on a beautiful girl! As for post-harvest fungicides? Well, we simply think that sounds like a bad idea, don't you? Not only can you find apples at Miller's, but we press our own apple cider throughout the Fall season! See here for more details.

Starting in the late 1990s, we began opening up some of our orchards to the public to pick their own apples—a.k.a. "U-Pick" apples. We appreciate the interest in U-Pick, but we have not been able to offer it in recent years. Check our Special Events and Fall Activities pages for this year's availability.

Our apples are available at our Farm Market either by the pound or by the half bushel. Mixing and matching is encouraged! What kind of apples can you get at Miller's? Part of eating locally means weathering the ups and downs of local weather and environmental patterns. Not all varieties are available every year simply because of frosts, droughts, pest invaders, etc. In general, these varieties can be found at Miller's during the Summer and Fall. (Please note, harvest dates are approximate and highly reliant on environmental forces far outside our control!):

(Follow us on Twitter @MillersOrchards for updates on what we have for sale in the store!

Apple Varieties

Mid to Late August

Early Mac The Mac's early, tarty cousin; good for snacking and pies
Transparent Slightly tart early apple; good for snacking and baking

Early to Mid September

Paula Red Tart-sweet with a bright white, juicy flesh; good for snacking
Ginger Gold Somewhat tart and firm; good for snacking, baking and cooking
Ida Red White-fleshed, bright red-skinned with a mild flavor; excellent for applesauce and snacking

Mid to Late September

MacIntosh Slightly tart and juicy; best for snacking and applesauce
Cortland Slightly tart with a white flesh and pink skin; excellent for snacking, baking and cooking
Empire Sweet and crunchy; excellent for snacking, baking and applesauce
Macoun Extremely crispy, slightly tart; excellent for snacking and baking
Gala Juicy and sweet; excellent for snacking
Pippen Firm, green-skinned, and very tart; excellent for baking and salads

Early to Mid October

Jonagold Mellow sweet-tart flavor with a honey-colored flesh; excellent for snacking, baking and cooking
Red Delicious Mild flavor with a firm, white flesh; best for snacking and salads
Crispin/Mutsu Firm, crispy and with a spicy sweet-tart flavor; excellent for snacking, baking and cooking
Golden Delicious Sweet, somewhat crispy with a mellow finish; good for snacking

Mid to Late October

Northern Spy A Northeast PA standard! Slightly tart and crunchy; good for snacking and baking
Granny Smith Very tart, crispy and juicy; excellent in baking and cooking (or with cheese!)
Rome Slightly tart and crispy; best for snacking and sauces

Sometimes Available

Cameo Somewhat tart with a sweet finish, very crunchy (May be available mid to late October)
Fuji Extremely sweet and crunchy with a firm white flesh (May be available mid to late October)
Honey Crisp Popular newer hybrid that is sweet and very crunchy (may be available late September)

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Vegetables:

Nourishing the soil is one of our guiding principles at Miller"s Orchards. We believe that by focusing on increasing the health of our soil, it will produce bountiful harvests of nutrient-dense crops. Check out our 2010 Newsletter for more information on our nutrient dense philosophy.

The quantity of vegetables we grow at Miller's Orchards varies from year to year. It simply depends on what we as a family can manage based on our available labor. Because we know you love variety when it comes to fresh produce, we have partnered with other like-minded growers to supply the produce we can't grow on our own Farm. Vegetables and Fruit are available in our Farm Market and at our Self-Serve produce stand (alongside the Farm Market) starting in July 2011.

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Honey:

At Miller's Orchards, we have a lot of apple trees. Which means we love honeybees. Apples, like many fruit crops, require honeybees to pollinate the blossoms during the Spring bloom. Bees, in their search for the tantalizing nectar found in lovely flowers, pick up pollen on their fuzzy legs. As they move from blossom to blossom, the pollen brushes off their legs and is deposited into another flower. The pollen enters the stigma of the new flower and fertilization occurs! As we like to tell the students who visit our farm: "That's how baby apples are born!"

For generations the Miller men kept at least one colony of bees on the Farm. The orchards needed them, and the family sold the harvested honey at farmers markets and in our on-farm market. In the 1990s, our native bee colony was weakened by a mite and then finished off by a hungry local bear. Because of Wally's busy farm schedule during those years, the farm opted to contract with other local bee-keepers to maintain "rented" colonies on our farm. And in the meantime, we discovered the Howland's, a local family of bee-keepers and honey bottlers, to provide us with honey for our Farm Market.

The Howland's are what we like to call "the real thing." They are committed to traditional bee-keeping methods and bottle their honey pure (no added corn syrup or other sweetners.) When you buy Howland's Honey at our Farm Market, you are getting 100% pure honey--the only food on earth that will never spoil!

We offer various varieties of honey year-round in the Farm Market. Our customers often ask us to explain the differences between the varieties. Simply put, honey comes from the nectar of various flowering plants, and the honey's taste takes on the characteristics of the plants from which it was derived. Because different plants flower at different times of the year, it is relatively easy to isolate the honeys derived from the various nectars. Because the honey is so closely linked to the plant nectar, honey is often recommended as a defense against the pollen that frustrates seasonal allergy sufferers.

Honey Varieties

Apple Blossom Light color honey with light fruit overtone. Excellent as a spread and in baking.
Basswood Light honey with a crisp, clean taste. Somewhat more rare in Northeast U.S. from a quick-blooming tree.
Buckwheat Strong, dark honey w/molasses & malt overtones and hint of an aftertaste. Rich in nutrients (esp iron). Often called the "man's honey."
Clover Light honey with a sweet, mild taste. An abundant nectar in the Eastern U.S. Good all-around honey for tea, spreads, baking, etc.
Honeysuckle Light honey with a mild, sweet taste. Good for use in teas and as spread.
Orange Blossom Lighter honey with a fresh, citrusy overtone. Blends nicely w/white & green teas and as a spread. Not from local nectar; pure honey from Florida.
Raspberry Medium color honey with a tangy, berry overtone. Works well as a spread and in tea.
Starthistle Medium color honey with a slight zingy tang. Excellent in teas, especially black.
Wildflower Medium color honey with a mild taste. Good honey for local allergy sufferers as it contains the nectar of various local allergen-producing plants.

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Copyright © 2013–2016 Miller's Orchard Farm Market, Inc.
570-587-3399 yourfarmers@millersorchards.com
1421 Fairview Road, Scott Township, PA 18411