Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Kind. Field Trip

Today I went with Seth on his first official school field trip...on the bus! I thought we were just going to a regular ole' u-pick apple orchard...boy was I in for a surprise.
We went to Orchard Hill Apple Orchard somewhere around Kendallville. It is a major wholesale apple orchard. They supply apples for all the Walmarts in at least Indiana (maybe Michigan too). First we went on a wagon ride around the orchard...saw just a few of the 9000 trees they have...saw how they graft new trees...learned how they control bugs...learned how they have to "rent" bees in the spring to pollinate all those trees...and how they hand prune each and every tree between Jan-March...and how each and every apple is hand picked.
Then...we went into the "barn" and saw how they package the was a huge long conveyor belt that started with a giant vat of water. They lowered the giant crate into the water then pushed the crate down...forcing the apples to gently rise to the top. At that point they went into a huge conveyor system that cleaned, sorted and bagged the apples. The engineering behind this machine was fascinating...I guess it's the only one like it in Indiana.
I was quite impressed...I think the kids were too...although at times, they were much more fascinated with the woolly worms.
The conveyor belt/computer that somehow measures and takes a "picture" of each apple and spits it out at exactly the right place to go in the right bag The automatic bagging system...somehow it measures the apples into 3, 5 & 10lb bags

Seth and Nate outside some newly planted trees
inside the giant fridge...did you know apples won't freeze until 28 degrees? The best way to keep apples fresh is in the fridge!
It was a great thankful for friends who watched Grant so that I could go with Seth!