Harvest Begins

Like clockwork, fall delivers foggy mornings, shorter days, and chilly nights. It also inspires a keen awareness among our team that every step counts as time marches us swiftly toward harvest. In the weeks leading up to what we affectionately refer to as our “busy season” — as if there were such a thing as down time on a farm — we find ourselves preparing all of our work spaces including our new barn at Black Jack Acres, lining up our ever-growing crew, brushing up on our safety trainings and protocols, and checking in our crops’ root development on the regular.

 Geneva 890 rootstock, the first to come out of the field, is showing healthy root development.

Geneva 890 rootstock, the first to come out of the field, is showing healthy root development.

 Adrian and Carlos working together to harvest Geneva 890 from the mother root in our layer beds.

Adrian and Carlos working together to harvest Geneva 890 from the mother root in our layer beds.

If you have any questions about our process, need to make changes to your order, or have a payment due to secure your order, please be in touch. And, if you haven’t placed your order yet, please take a look at our Current Availability to see what’s left!

Seasons Change

Mornings are looking like this a lot these days, which we don’t mind. Once the fog lifts, the days are dry, warm and stunning. We feel lucky to work in such perfect conditions.

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The dry weather allowed us to get a jump start on fall planting of Prunus avium, Prunus mahaleb and Prunus myrobalan seed at Black Jack Acres earlier this week. Read on to learn more about the characteristics of each of these seedlings.

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Prunus avium (Mazzard Cherry) is a sweet cherry rootstock. This vigorous plant is more water tolerant than mahaleb, cold hardy, resists root-knot nematode and is moderately resistant to oak root fungus.

Prunus mahaleb (Mahaleb Cherry) is both a sweet and sour cherry rootstock. A smaller tree than mazzard, it is also more drought tolerant and cold hardy. It resists bacterial canker and is moderately resistant to crown gall and root-lesion nematode.

Finally, Prunus myrobalan, the standard size rootstock for ornamental and fruiting plums. It maintains a somewhat uniform tree size and is compatible with a wide range of cultivars. It makes a strong, well anchored tree that is adapted to a variety of soils, including heavy ones. It is resistant to root-knot nematode and is mildly resistant to crown gall.

Breaking Ground

We are thrilled to announce that as part of our nursery expansion, we broke ground on a 12,000 square foot barn this summer!

This new facility will accommodate the processing and storage of rootstock grown on additional acreage now in production just a few miles from our existing farm, and will allow us to meet the growing demand in the marketplace for all of the fruit rootstock we cultivate. This new space will be up and running just in time for this year’s harvest.

We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to deliver the highest quality rootstock we can to our customers. This new hub will give us the space we need to do just that!

Looking Back

In 1982, our parents, Christopher and Marilyn Dolby, founded CopenHaven Farms Nursery on the same site we farm today. When they started out, they were just a couple of idealistic kids with a desire to develop a connection to the land, and do something meaningful with their lives, together. This was their dream. They were always very clear that they didn't want any of us four kids to feel pressure to take the reins one day. And while it wasn't necessarily built by us, they didn't shy away from putting us to work. Whether we were of actual use or not, well, the verdict's still out.

 Christopher Dolby (Dad), circa 1983, mounding rootstock beds with sawdust to encourage healthy root growth.

Christopher Dolby (Dad), circa 1983, mounding rootstock beds with sawdust to encourage healthy root growth.

After a youth spent pining for the perceived conveniences, tidiness and riches of suburbia, many of us kids couldn't wait for our first off farm adventure. Eventually, we all did move away and pursue other things.

 From left to right: Donevan, Veronica, Cameron, and Laleña (me) 

From left to right: Donevan, Veronica, Cameron, and Laleña (me) 

And, one by one, we all came back. Which, I think they predicted. Whether for a short-lived retreat to center ourselves in mid-life when the reality of being a grown up was hitting home in an unpleasant way,  or for paid work when things weren't going as planned in our careers, or when we had a child and needed the flexibility and support that a family business can provide. We were all lucky to have a place to land.

 Veronica and Dad root pruning with sheep shearers. Track suits make great toddler work wear!

Veronica and Dad root pruning with sheep shearers. Track suits make great toddler work wear!

Did my sister and I, who were at times each other's child nemesis, ever imagine that we would one day find ourselves all grown up and quite happily working together on the farm on a regular basis? Yet, here we are, working alongside mom and dad to move a 36 year old business into its next phase.

 Laleña mowing the headlands. Note pedal block crafted by Dad to enable me to operate heavy machinery at a young age, like any farm kid worth her salt.

Laleña mowing the headlands. Note pedal block crafted by Dad to enable me to operate heavy machinery at a young age, like any farm kid worth her salt.

So, with Father's Day just around the bend, we are feeling grateful to our dad (to both of our parents actually, who make the best team ever!) for CopenHaven Farms Nursery. We are honored to steward this place, this business, and this way of life for years to come. 

 The whole crew! From left to right: Laleña, Christopher, Donevan, Veronica, Marilyn, and Cameron.

The whole crew! From left to right: Laleña, Christopher, Donevan, Veronica, Marilyn, and Cameron.

 

 

That's a wrap!

The end of the season is always bittersweet. The last of the rootstock has made its way from our farm to destinations across the country, and the coolers have been turned off the for the season. 

Now, our team now heads back out to the fields to plant the next generation of rootstock, and soon, to begin the mounding process to promote optimum root growth.

Follow along on this blog for periodic updates from the fields and barn, where you'll meet our team, and see your future rootstock growing throughout the year.