Pick-Your-Own Apples

October 1st, 2018 9:18 AM
Couple carrying bag of apples between two rows of apple trees.

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash


Apple picking is an excellent fall tradition to spend some quality time with your loved ones, and stock up on apples for all the autumnal apple treats and snacking you could want.  Follow this link to find several apple orchards in Cumberland County and follow the links to their sites to find out if they do pick-your-own.


When you go to pick your apples, there are a few tips to keep in mind to bruise your fruit as little as possible. First you want to grasp the apple firmly with the palm of your hand, using your fingers as little as possible. It might not seem like a lot, but pressing in with your fingers too much can cause undue bruising. Next you’ll want to “roll” your apple upward when you snap it off the branch, so that it comes off more easily. It also comes off more easily when snapped in one direction than the other, though that takes some experience, but with a little practice you can get the hang of it. Lastly, always remember to place it in your bucket or basket, never drop it, so that your apples aren’t banging against each other and getting bruised up.


For the most part, simply refrigerating your apples will allow them to maintain their quality for longer than a week. At room temperature, they will quickly get soft and mealy! Under ideal conditions they can be kept in cold storage for up to four months, and 12 months if they have a controlled atmosphere. That said, there are a couple considerations you may want to make when storing your apples. Most varieties can be stored at temperatures near 32ºF, but you should regularly monitor room temperatures to prevent freezing in storage units that don’t maintain a consistent temperature. Other varieties, such as honeycrisp, are prone to chilling injuries if kept at temperatures at or below 36ºF, so make sure you chill them around 37ºF.

apple cold storage temperatures

Happy picking!

If you’re looking for something to do with all those apples you just picked, you might consider trying this classic fall recipe. If you do, let us know how it came out!

RECIPEBaked Apple Crisp

Makes 12 servings


  • 8 cups unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced apples (about 8 medium apples)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (use 1/2 at a time)
  • 1 ½ cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup evaporated skim milk


  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt, nonfat


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare a two-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, toss apples with sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and lemon juice. Place apples into casserole dish and spread the applesauce over the apples.
  4. Combine rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, evaporated milk, dry milk powder, and the other 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly brown and bubbly. Cool slightly, but serve while warm with the topping of vanilla yogurt.

Picking: https://extension.umaine.edu/fruit/harvest-and-storage-of-tree-fruits/harvesting-procedures/
Cold Storage: https://extension.umaine.edu/fruit/harvest-and-storage-of-tree-fruits/cold-storage-conditions/
Preservation: https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4035e/

NEW Fruit and Veg Listserv for Farmer-to-Farmer Communication!

September 13th, 2018 3:41 PM
Hello Farmers!
After many conversations with farmers who have been searching for better ways to communicate with other farmers, Caleb Goossen and myself are getting a new Maine vegetable and berry growers email listserv up and running.
The new Maine vegetable and berry growers email listserv is open to all commercial growers, organic and conventional, with these aims:
  • The purpose of this list is to help growers to buy and sell items from each other, to connect for buying in bulk, and to find equipment, supplies, and land that can be shared and loaned.
  • Sharing of experiences with products, production and management knowledge, and navigating topics such as insurance, labor, and financing are encouraged. Extension Educators and other service providers are also encouraged to join and contribute to the discussion.
  • Please do not send any: political messages, surveys, or spam of any kind. Sending non-­practical messages will dilute the purpose of the lists and reduce participation.

Members that do not honor the purpose of the lists may be removed.

For this to be a truly valuable resource for everyone involved, please keep the following considerations in mind:
  1. Subject lines should be concise but descriptive
  2. When a question of general interest is asked to the list, such as “how do growers dry garlic?” please reply only to the sender, who should then compile all the answers and send out a message to the list with a descriptive subject matter line, “responses to garlic drying question.”
  3. The more farmers that are utilizing the list, the more useful it will be for everyone involved, so please encourage others to subscribe!
To subscribe, send an email to: meveg-berry-subscribe-request@lists.maine.edu
You will be given the option to select your preferred options for the way you receive emails from the list, either “traditional” where you receive each email at the time it is posted to the list, or “digest” which will group all of that days posts into one email per day.
After you have been added to the list, you can post by sending an email to: MEVEG-BERRY@lists.maine.edu

UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm Instagram Account

August 1st, 2018 8:57 AM

UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm InstagramFollow the new UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm Instagram account (@umainegardens_tidewaterfarm) for updates on events, workshops, and programs! Catch a glimpse of how the gardens transform from season to season with photos of flowers in bloom, wildlife habitats, and gardening techniques used throughout the year!

Growing Fruit Trees: Guides and Publications

July 31st, 2018 11:50 AM

remsberg_15101330101Whether starting for the first time or in the tree fruit business for many years, these resources are designed to guide growers in determining knowledge gaps and skills that may be gained to be more successful in tree fruit production.

The purpose of these links is to provide the home orchardist with the knowledge to successfully grow fruit trees under the conditions that exist in Maine.

Farmer Skill and Knowledge Checklist for Tree Fruit Growers in Maine

Growing Fruit Trees in Maine

A Guide to Harvest and Storage of Fruit Trees in Maine

Planting and Early Care of Fruit Trees


Growing Fruit Trees in Maine, 2nd Edition

Tree Fruit Field Guide to Insect, Mite, and Disease Pests and Natural Enemies of Eastern North America

Renovating Old Apple Trees

If you would like to know more about tree fruit production or other types of gardening, please contact the University of Maine Cooperative Extension or the Highmoor Farm or visit the UMaine Extension website.

It’s Berry Season and We’ve Got the Publications!

June 28th, 2018 10:47 AM

Berry season is upon us and we have several publications from growing the berries, to preserving and cooking them.

Maine Food for June: Strawberries, Berry Jams and Spring Peas

May 25th, 2018 1:23 PM

UMaine Extension offers Tips for Using Maine Fruits and Vegetables Available in June

strawberriesWe all look forward to the signs of spring after a long cold Maine winter. Strawberries are definitely one of those spring harbingers we crave.

Freezing berries in season and making your own low-sugar jams and jellies are simple, easy ways to increase your access to a year-round supply of local foods, cut back on sugar and reduce your grocery bill.

Kathy Savoie, UMaine Extension educator, cautions that you should get up-to-date information if you are planning on canning food. Over the years, there have been changes in scientific expertise as well as canning equipment and there is new information on the best methods, canners, jars, and seals to use to ensure a safe result.

Looking for a local food preservation workshop near you to learn more? How about Preserving the Harvest: Strawberry Jam at our UMaine Regional Learning Center in Falmouth (75 Clearwater Dr) on Wednesday June 27th. This hands-on food preservation workshop will teach you the basics of canning and freezing strawberries, including how to use a water bath canner to preserve jam. Learn from the experts. We will provide fresh produce and canning jars. Register online.

Visit extension.umaine.edu to order or download bulletins to fit this season, including June favorites such as Bulletin #4047 Let’s Preserve Strawberries, Bulletin #4039 Let’s Preserve: Jams, Jellies and Spreads, Bulletin #4383 Freezing Fruits and Bulletin #4256 Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Peas.

Support your local farmer by shopping at a farmers’ market

farmers marketThe vibrant farmers’ market scene in Maine offers shoppers a fun way to access fresh food from friendly, hard-working farmers. Most home gardeners in Maine try to have peas to harvest by the Fourth of July, but you can add peas to the menu even earlier by going to local farmers markets and vegetable stands. Common types you will find in the market include shell (green) peas as well as edible-pod peas such as snow peas (Chinese pea pods) and sugar-snap peas.

About University of Maine Cooperative Extension: As a trusted resource for over 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.
About the University of Maine: The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s land grant and sea grant university. As Maine’s flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast and attracts students from Maine and 49 other states, and 67 countries. It currently enrolls 11,240 total undergraduate and graduate students who can directly participate in groundbreaking research working with world-class scholars. The University of Maine offers 35 doctoral programs and master’s degrees in 85 fields; more than 90 undergraduate majors and academic programs; and one of the oldest and most prestigious honors programs in the U.S. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campus wide aimed at conserving energy, recycling and adhering to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu

Great Publications for Memorial Day Weekend

May 21st, 2018 4:08 PM

barbecue food

The first long weekend of the summer season is about to begin and that means people are spending more time outdoors. We’ve got publications about grilling safely, dealing with those pesky bugs and insects, gardening information, and much more! Below is just a sample of publications available from UMaine Extension’s publications catalog:

4-H Club Visits the Big Apple!

May 10th, 2018 8:42 AM
The PHS 4-H club in the General Assembly room at the United Nations.

The PHS 4-H club in the General Assembly room at the United Nations.

The PHS 4-H Club recently returned from New York City and, according to the teens, the adventure was amazing and eye-opening. The PHS 4-H club is supported by the Portland Mentoring Alliance. The 4-H club conducts leadership activities, college preparation exercises and community service.  Teens take an annual trip to visit an urban college and to learn American history and civics. There were eleven juniors and seniors who went on the trip with two adult volunteers and an Extension staff member.
Highlights included a visit to NYU admissions, a touching visit to the 9/11 memorial, a visit to the Whitney Art Museum, and a tour of the United Nations. Several students want to study criminal justice and be a police officer so the students asked NYPD officers a lot of questions on the trip. The teens visited Harlem where they tried some traditional southern American cooking (to mixed results) and shopped at an African bazaar.
Nasteho and Nimo model the clothing they bought at the African Market in Harlem.

Nasteho and Nimo model the clothing they bought at the African Market in Harlem.

The teens have been planning the trip since October. The teens had to identify potential colleges and sites to visit, conduct service learning projects, and attend leadership meetings in order to go on the trip. The teens also met with mentors on a weekly basis and maintained their grades and school attendance. Many of the teens loved visiting NYC but most came to the conclusion that they would prefer a college with more green space and less traffic!  One of the best parts of being in New York City, said one teen, is that “everyone can be themselves and no one looks at you for standing out from the crowd. You can just be yourself there.”

Publications for Spring

May 1st, 2018 12:40 PM

Spring is here and that means the planting and growing season is getting under way in some parts of our state and people are pursuing outdoor activities. We have resources to educate you about pruning trees and shrubs, starting seeds at home, insect repellents, ticks, mosquitoes and Lyme disease. Fiddlehead season is almost here, and maybe in the southern part of the state, and we have information on cooking and pickling, with recipes and an instructional video.

Two New Publications: Storey’s Guides

February 22nd, 2018 10:13 AM

Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs, Third Edition#1113 Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs, Third Edition
Learn how to successfully raise your own pigs with a focus on a sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. Expert tips on making your hog operation more efficient and profitable. Great resource for beginners. 374 pages. $19.95


Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep#1114 Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep
Drawing from years of hands-on experience, Paula Simmons and Carol Ekarius provide expert advice on breed selection, lambing, feeding, housing, pasture maintenance, and medical care. You will also find tips on profitably marketing your meat and fiber products, as well as information on obtaining organic certifications. 438 pages. $19.95