Rick and Carol Veens purchased their farm in 1986 when there were no fruit trees. Rick purchased apple root stocks from Holland and began budding his own apple trees. Every year he planted as many trees as they could afford. Today their farm hosts several thousand apple, peach, cherry, plum and pear trees. Along with all the tree fruit, they also grow many acres of super sweet corn. Throughout the spring, Rick plants several varieties of sweet corn at different intervals. This way their corn season extends from mid-July to Thanksgiving, weather permitting. They also enjoy growing many other crops starting with asparagus which begins in May, then rhubarb, strawberries, sweet cherries and next, peaches, corn, muskmelon, watermelon and many other vegetables.
Rick and Carol are well known in their area for their tree ripened peaches. They actually have early peaches in July right through till September. People say they have never tasted peaches like theirs. They believe it is because Rick will only pick them once he is sure they have ripened as much as possible on the tree. "You can't pick a peach too green, he says. They just won't have any flavour”. Some of the peaches shipped to grocery stores have been picked too green because of shipping reasons, not to mention travelling time. By the time the customer actually eats the peach, they could have been picked for a couple of weeks. “Our peaches are spot picked each day during harvest, which means that sometimes we could pick over a tree 4 or 5 times. We only pick the largest and ripest each time allowing the remaining peaches to size up and continue ripening”.
Vegetables are in no short supply either at Juicy Fruit Orchards. They grow several varieties of tomatos, peppers, slicing and pickling cucumbers, eggplant, green and yellow beans, onions, potatoes, beets and radishes, Fall crops include squash, gourds, pumpkins, apples, pears and Indian corn.
They are also known for their own homegrown garlic. They only grow Music variety, the best variety for our area. It is a hardneck garlic with exceptional flavour and shelf life. Growing garlic began because they couldn't find anyone in their area to supply them. Carol said to Rick "Well if we can't find anyone to grow it for us, why not grow it ourselves”? They are now in their 5th growing year, and each year have doubled their production.
RICK & CAROL VEENS & FAMILY
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