About Easy Pickin's Orchard
What We Grow
Here at Easy Pickin's Orchard we grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Continue reading for more information on what we have to offer our customers. For information on what's currently available, visit our "What's Growing On" page.
All of the apple trees in our pick-your-own orchard are fully-dwarfed and trained to a four wire trellis. This allows us to offer apples for picking from just above the ground to the six foot level. So everyone can pick their own apples at our farm, from the tallest to the smallest.
We offer twenty varieties of apples for harvest, and we have several more varieties planted for evaluation. These varieties ripen at different times from the third week in August to the end of October. So try to make a weekly visit to Easy Pickin's and you should find a new variety ready to tickle your taste buds!
Hardly a day goes by without news of a new study indicating the beneficial health effects of eating berries. Berries are high in Vitamin C and fiber, and low in calories. Both raspberries & blueberries are also rated high for their antioxidant content; these antioxidants are thought to play a role in slowing aging and preventing cancer.
Easy Pickin’s grows 3 kinds of berries: strawberries, raspberries, & blueberries. All of them are sweet, delicious and good for you ! Perhaps you have a favorite, or maybe you love them all.
Our vegetable patch changes throughout the season. Planting starts in our greenhouse in March, and continues out into the garden right through August. Each season presents its own unique weather challenges, and we can't promise every vegetable to be available at any one time. But that is the wonderful part of locally-grown. You can enjoy the bounty of one vegetable in its season, and then move on to the next as it ripens!
Even though we're on the northern fringe of peach country, and our cold winters can sometimes damage our peach buds, we still grow peaches because they're just so darn good! We grow seven varieties of peaches which ripen throughout August. We even grow a few white peaches!
Our yellow peach varieties, in order of ripening, are Garnet Beauty, New Haven, Salem, and Ernie's Choice.
Our white peach varieties are Earli-Redfire, Raritan Rose, and White Hale.
Plums are an exciting treat on our farm. We grow both the Japanese type as well as the prune plum. The japanese plums are sweet and very juicy. We start harvesting the Methley variety in July, followed by the Shiro ( a yellow plum), and the Ozark Premier.
The prune plums are sweet with a drier texture. They start with the Stanley variety in September, followed by Bluefre, and President.
A rare and unusual fruit grown on our farm is the Asian Pear (aka Korean Pear, Chinese Pear, or Apple Pear). This is a large round pear with a crisp texture. It is sweet and very juicy. Unlike the Italian Pear, Asian pears are crisp when ripe and should not be allowed to soften. The skin of this pear is an orange-bronze russet. The skin is edible, though some prefer to peel this pear. We grow two varieties, Chojuro (September) and Arirang (aka Korean Giant, in October).
Flowers & Herbs:
More and more of us are enjoying fresh cut flowers for our own homes as well as for gifts. More and more of us are also enjoying fresh cut herbs for our culinary creations. Our flower and herb garden is the perfect place to take some time to renew the spirit as you cut and arrange your own beautiful bouquets. You will find our flower prices to be very reasonable and many varieties can be dried for everlasting bouquets.Why an herb garden? Where would the tomatoes be without basil? It may not take a large amount of herbs to flavor your meals, but what is life without the subtleties. So browse and cut from the herb garden while you plan your wonderful fruit and vegetable dishes.
To cut your flowers and herbs we provide you with a container of water and shears.
Family Farm History
In 1951, Francis ("Red") and Linda Kelliher bought a farm on Bailey Road in Enfield. The property they purchased consisted of 50 acres of land, a farmhouse, and outbuildings. There were also 20-25 apple trees that had been planted in the 1930's. For the first two years, they raised tobacco on the land while Red worked at a Ford tractor dealer. When he landed a job at Kaman Helicopter, farming took a back seat. The land was rented out to local farmers, who grew potatoes, corn and tobacco.
When the farm was first purchased, the original apple trees were over-grown by brush. Red set about clearing the brush from the trees and tending them. Around 1964, he began planting more trees - about 200 on 2 acres. The apples from these trees were sold at Linda's parent's farm on Elm Street, the site of the Enfield Square today. In between the farming and aircraft work, Red and Linda raised five children - Dianne, Mark, James (Jamie), Brian and Kristine.
In 1978, Jamie and Brian wanted to plant some apple trees of their own. Jamie cleared a half acre of land, and the following year the two boys cleared another half acre. They planted McIntosh, Red Delicious and Macoun as semi-standard trees trained to the modified central leader system. This was when Brian first began to learn the finer points of training trees, identifying diseases and pests.
In 1978, Brian entered college majoring in horticulture. During the last few years of college, he grew vegetables at his parents' farm to sell in area farmer's markets. Upon his graduation from UConn with Bachelor's degrees in both Horticulture and English literature, he went back to farming his parents' land. His primary crops were corn and apples, with other vegetables to round out his selection. In 1985, Brian was hired as Orchard Manager for Pine Brook Orchard, a pick-your-own operation in Colchester, CT. At Pine Brook, Brian learned the 4-wire trellis system (espalier). This method allows a far greater tree density and higher yields. When Pine Brook was sold in 1988, Brian came home to Enfield and the whole family began to help build the town's first pick-your-own orchard on the family farm.
An irrigation well was drilled in 1989, and the pipes were laid. The tree planting began in 1990, with dwarf apple trees, peaches and the nursery and autumn saw the installation of the first section of trellis to support the 1,500 apple trees that comprise "Block I". The following year, a half acre of raspberries was added.
An electrified fence was completed in 1991, encircling the orchard with seven strands of wire placed at an angle to deter deer from feasting on the crops. More rootstocks were added to the nursery in 1991, and that summer was spent grafting trees as well. The fall of 1991 saw the start of planting in the back part of the orchard "Block II" which continued through 1995.
In the fall of 1992, Easy Pickin's Orchard was ready to open to the public for the first time. It was time to see if all the hard work would pay off. We opened our gates the third week of August, with an old kitchen table under a market umbrella in the field. For our first year, we offered pick-your-own apples, peaches and raspberries.
1993 brought a bumper crop of peaches, and an even greater yield of apples than the year before. More people heard about Easy Pickin's Orchard, and came out to see what we were all about. We started advertising in local papers, and the customers came.
Since then, we've worked hard to increase and expand our offerings to you. We've added pick-your-own vegetables, flowers, herbs, plums, Asian pears, and Blueberries. There will be wagon rides and school tours, entertainment and education. Bring your family to Easy Pickin's Orchard for farm fun!