The Himrod Harvest
We’re missing a lot of big-ticket fruits and veggies in the garden this year: no peaches, nectarines or pears, thanks to pests last year and a badly-timed cold snap in late February. No cucumbers or green beans, thanks to a voracious (but since removed) groundhog. And everything is suffering from the drought, which is still a major player in the 2016 garden.
Despite the issues, our grapes are doing relatively well, since they tend to prefer drier conditions (not this dry, of course, but they’re holding up). We have two vines each of four different varieties, and Himrod is the first to ripen:
Himrod is a white grape bred to do well in the Fingerlakes region, so it makes sense for our northern garden. It’s sweet with a musky-tart skin, and it’s a variety made for eating, not winemaking. Ours are seedless.
Because they ripen so early — and because all our grapes are green at this point — we haven’t timed the harvest properly in the past, and the birds got a lot of our white grapes. This year we had a bumper crop, though not all were able to ripen due to the drought:
It’s a huge shame how many grapes we’ve lost this year, based on all the sad, on-the-vine-raisins everywhere. The Concords are especially hard-hit in this area, though our other varieties are having better yields than ever before, even with the losses.
It’s not only rain holding our grapes back. We also had a pretty nasty Japanese beetle infestation back there this year, as you can see above. It was at its worst while we were away on vacation, so there wasn’t much we could do about it. Next year, we should be on hand to go out there and pick them off by hand and feed them to the chickens.
Still, even with no rain and opportunistic insects, we’ve filled up a big bowl of sweet, juicy grapes. These are nice and refreshing on these hot days when you grab a handful out of the fridge, so I imagine we’ll just eat them up without having to worry about making any jelly.