Talon News - Good Local News

By Renee Bailey



October 20, 2017

Family is key to our community's success, and Kerby Orchards knows what it means to work together as a family to achieve a goal for the common good. Kerby Orchards began in 1945 on 20 acres by Tom Kerby and his wife. They loved the work and the trees and soon the orchard began to prosper. Despite being told that the land would never produce a working orchard, as two before Kerby had failed on the land, the Kerbys pushed forward for their dream. Their hard work, many hours day and night, and a complete love of the land and trees created this now thriving orchard.

Leslie Kerby has carried on his family tradition in the orchard. He and his family work 80 hours a week for approximately 8 months a year thenonly work about 45 hours a week the rest of the year. Their hard work produces cherries and apricots in June. July and August bring us peaches, pears, plums and nectarines. The apples begin in early August and continue to be available through November until the orchard runs out. Early September offers us fresh apple cider. Pressed fresh, onsite at the orchard. It is delicious and the fresh tannins carry many health benefits. It is never pasteurized and an apple that touches the ground is never collected.

The hand pruning of the trees helps to keep the trees healthy, catch disease early and enables them to plan for the removal of old trees and the planting of their replacements. Apples and peaches have a long production lifespan, 20 to 25 years. However, as they need to be replaced with new trees, it takes some planning. First, it must be decided what kind of tree will replace the old. Once a tree is decided upon, a reputable green house is needed to ensure a healthy sapling. Then the ground is prepared for the new tree and finally it can be planted. And then the sapling must be loved and tended for 7 years before it can be considered ready for perfect fruit production. This commitment to the trees can only come from a true love of the work, the land and the fruit. Being the last independent orchard in San Juan County their commitment to excellence stands out. The spring can bring very cold nights here. Those nights the Kerby's wake to an alarm warning of dangerous temperatures for the budding fruit. The natural gas-powered heaters and large wind machines are then put into play. Used properly, these machines can raise the temperature 6-8 degrees if needed to save the crop, and many springs require such measures.

You can find the Kerby's at the orchard on Hwy 64 in Farmington Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon until 5:30 pm, and on Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, through sell-out in mid to late November. They can also be found at the farmers markets in Farmington on Tuesday evenings and Aztec on Wednesday evenings. Their fruit and cider are very much worth the trip.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018