Good Picking Practices
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April 2, 2013
Spring is here! Hopefully winter with early morning frost is behind us for another year. It was so warm in March that a lot of the trees budded out and new leaves were on the trees. Then came the frost and the leaves looked burned, they will recover. Our first fruit for the year is expected in May which is blueberry, canít give you a date yet because I canít predict the weather. Our anticipated schedule for the year is; blueberry in May, blackberry in June, pear and fig in July, jujube in August and September, and persimmon, citrus and pumpkins in October and November. The best way to get current picking information is to sign up for the newsletter and we will send you an email when picking starts. You can sign up for the newsletter from our website, MattFamilyOrchard.com. You can also call the fruit hotline 281 351-7676.
We have taken reservations for tours already, if you need a particular date itís best to call in advance.
The orchard is open for the nursery, local honey, preservers and jellies. Please call ahead of time to make an appointment.
What we are doing now is getting ready for the season, such as, replacing trees, planting new varieties of pears, and trimming, weeding and sprucing up the orchard. When you come you will notice a new addition to the orchard, itís a high tunnel. A high tunnel is like a greenhouse but we plant trees in the ground and protect the weather sensitive trees from the cold.
Another year, our sixteenth, comes to a close and it was a good year for the Matt Family Orchard. Fruit production was much improved from the 2011 season, pumpkins were plentiful, and folks enjoyed the tours. In November, there was over 1,000 ft of irrigation pipe installed that provides for expansion, and unexpectedly, our water well went out and the pump was replaced. As we put 2012 behind us, we plan for 2013. In 2013, we will replant 500 persimmon trees and 75 Asian pear trees, replacing the trees lost in the 2011 drought. We will also plant 25 more peach trees and 75 more satsuma citrus trees. Also, we will complete the construction of a 30X300 high tunnel (greenhouse) that will be used to plant more weather sensitive fruit and citrus trees under a controlled environment. All planting and construction will be completed prior to opening in the Spring.
2011/2012 winter was mild and there was an early Spring, resulting in an early fruit season, the earliest I ever experienced. As a result, some folks missed picking their fruit this year, they also missed our notifications to come and pick. The website provides estimated ripening/picking seasons but, it all depends on the weather for the exact times.
I am grateful to you in every respect as you have continued to support the orchard. Your support will never be taken for granted. I see us in a partnership; you supply us the business and I supply you with a family outing, and the best berries, fruit and citrus. Itís a win-win for all of us.
I close in wishing you and yours the most joyous and blessed Christmas season and a very peaceful new year!
November 2, 2012
Another fruit picking season has come to an end. This year we experienced an early season because of a warm winter and an early spring. Itís the first time in my 17 years that we started picking persimmon in September. All berries and fruit are controlled by weather conditions so Iím not able to give exact picking start dates. Itís unfortunate that some people missed persimmon this year. The best way to be informed is call the fruit hot line (281 351-7676), view my website or sign up for the newsletter.
Our winter/spring plans is to plant more citrus, persimmon, pear and peach trees plus plant more blueberries. We will be construction a high tunnel starting this month.
Now that the weather is cooler, itís a good time to schedule your parties and social gatherings at the orchard, reservations are required. Hunting season is under way and we have a feeder and light at all six stands for bow hunters.
As you can see we never really close just slow down and get ready to run next year.
September 10, 2012
Asian persimmon and Satsuma Citrus are ready for picking therefore; we will open for picking starting Friday, September 14th. All picking supplies are furnished. Price for Asian persimmon is $1.55lb.
Picking days and hours are:
Monday and Tuesday closed
Wednesday to Saturday 9am to 4pm
Sunday Ė noon to 4pm
Tours are scheduled seven days a week, day and evening hours with a minimum of 15 people, deposit and reservation. Price for tours is $8 per person.
Pumpkin Patch opens October 1st The same hours as picking hours above. Several, hundred pumpkins are available (minis, pies and jacks), plus gourds, corn stalks and hay. We will set up a photo shoot for your picture taking, bring your own camera.
Bulk pumpkin orders and delivery is available with pre-orders.
AUGUST 31, 2012
Because of the very mild winter some Asian persimmons are ready for picking. The orchard is open for picking persimmon for one day only, Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd. We will reevaluate our hours after Monday to determine opening again.
We will have pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and hay at the orchard once again this year. You are welcome to come pick your pumpkin and take advantage of our photo background for family pictures. Four sizes of pumpkins will be available mini, pies, jacks and maxis.
∑ Minis are small pumpkins you can hold in the palm of your hand. They are great for small children from age one to 3 years old. They can be painted.
∑ PIES weigh 3 to 6 pounds, nice color and shape and usually have their stem. They are good for children between 2 to 6 years old. These pumpkins can be painted, used as a flower pot or candle holder, table decoration and used in cooking.
∑ JACKS can range from 8 to 25 pounds and are usually the ones carved. Children from 5 years old to senior citizens enjoy jacks. Jacks are great for making a fall color splash with hay and cornstalks.
∑ MAXIS are large ranging from 25 to 100+ pounds. Usually good for the young at heart crowd, can be used to get attention, guess the weight game, dress and decorate. A real conversation piece.
We are taking bulk pumpkins orders for private events, they can be reserved for October and picked up or delivery when needed. A 50% deposit is required when ordered. Call us with your order.
Tours are offered throughout the year however, October's Harvest Festival is very popular. At this time the date selection is good however, as we go into September we start filling up. See my web site for tour details. Requirements are: minimum of 15, reservation and deposit.
One last item, a 2,000sq ft. pavilion with picnic tables for over 100 folks can be leased anytime for company, family, church or clubs activities.
August 10, 2012 Jujube and figs are almost at the end of their season. We will be closing until the Asian persimmon and citrus are ready for picking. We anticipate opening in late September or October. When we are ready to open, the website will be updated, the fruit hot line message will be changed or you will receive a newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter from this website.
Because the weather has cooperated, it appears the pumpkin crop will be better than last year. We will be having the pumpkin patch at the orchard once again and are taking orders for bulk pumpkins, hay, corn stalks, gourds, etc
Once again we will be have tours at the orchard, check out the tour page for more details. A minimum of fifteen people, reservations and a deposit is required. Tour dates fill up quickly and I recommend making a reservation early.
A little update on the orchardÖÖ..I am attending the Southern Fruit Fellowship meeting in Mississippi this week and making arrangements to purchase additional blueberries for fall planting. We also have the high tunnel material ready for construction.
July 29, 2012 Because of a limited supply of figs and jujube, our days and hours of operation have changed; we are now open Friday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm. There is local honey from the orchardís bee hives.
For tour reservations and pumpkin orders please contact me at email@example.com or call 281 467-9758.
June 23, 2012 Blackberries are on the way out. We still have them but not as plentiful as before. Figs are beginning to be ripen, based on the figs come to ripeness I anticipate a large crop this year. Jujube, Asian dates, are so numerous that our tree branches are bending almost to the ground. Itís a little early but, some are ready for picking. Also, farm eggs and local vegetables are available.
We are open Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm.
June 3, 2012, Summer is here, itís hot! Iíve noticed very little pickers come after 1pm, therefore, Iím starting the summer hours.
Open: Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday and Saturday
From: 7am to 1pm
We have an abundance of blackberries. Some blackberry pickers are picking 5lb in less than 30min. Blackberry picking should continue till the end of June. After blackberries we will be picking figs, which are looking very good this year. In fact, our new planting of 100 fig trees, two years ago, are producing well. We now have 300 fig trees. If you are on our mailing list Iíll be sending a newsletter informing you when to come pick figs.
Our new hours do not affect tours; they can be anytime time or day. We do require a tour reservation, minimum of 15, and a deposit.
As the heat increases we are begining to need rain , hopefully we will be blessed this week.
May 29, 2012 Blueberry season is over for 2012. We continue to pick blackberries every Wednesday and Saturday from 8am to 5pm. The figs and jujube are looking very good this year. I anticipate picking both figs and jujube in July or sooner. Check this website, listen for a message on the fruit hotline or just wait for the next newsletter, three ways to keep posted.
You may notice the construction of a high tunnel on the western part of the orchard. We plan to use it for cold sensitive fruits.
The first three months of the year we receive about 22in of rain, since then very little rain. Itís getting dry and Iím hoping we wonít experience the drought of last year.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 We filled the parking lot this morning and then some. Opening twice a week helps berries to ripen for folks looking for quantity. Our next day to open is Saturday, May 26. There will be BLUE and BLACK berries for picking at $3.75lb. Starting on May 30th , Wednesday and Saturday, 8am to 5pm will be our regular picking days and hours. My suggestion, come early, and check the fruit hot line, 281 351-7676 for the most current information.
May 11, 2012 We have blueberry and blackberry ready for picking Saturday, May 12. We are open from 8am to 5pm. Both blue and black berries are $3.75 lb.
Our days of picking will change next week;
∑ Open Saturday, May 12th
∑ Closed Sunday and Monday, May 13th and 14th
∑ Open Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15th and 16th
∑ Closed Thursday through Monday, May 17th to May 21th
∑ Open Tuesday, May 22st
As you can see we will be closed for 5 straight days (May 17th to May 21st) and the blackberries will continue to ripen, therefore, Tuesday, May 22nd will be a BIG day to get all the blackberries you want.
We will reevaluate hours and picking schedule on May 22nd and post this information on the website and fruit hotline; 281 351-7676.
May 6, 2012 Blueberry picking is limited for two main reasons; first, we have a young planting (800 plants) of two years. The berry plants do not produce an abundance of fruit. , Second, the people that come early pick what is ripe at the time.
We plan to pick two days a week, Wednesday and Saturday, providing there are berries to pick. We wonít know till the day before or the pick day. Itís possible we can be picked out by noon.
The best way to know if ripe berries are available is to call the fruit hotline and listen to the recorded message.
April 23, 2012 - Blackberries are not ready for picking. We will let you know when they are ready for picking either by our newsletter, if you sign up, or by calling the fruit hotline @ 281 351-7676. We look forward to increasing the blueberry planting in the future.
March 15, 2012 - We are diligently working to do maintenance and replace trees that died due to the summer heat and drought. The rain we missed last year is abundant now. Wish the Lord could give us rain throughout the year rather than all at once. Please donít think this is a complaint, Iím happy with what I have.
This yearís season will start in April or May with blueberries and blackberries. In June/July we will have figs then in August/September jujube and pear (if we get a crop of pear this year). October/November brings Asian persimmon and citrus. That is a summary of the 2012 picking schedule. More details, (fruit picking, hours and prices) will come to you on our newsletter or by calling the fruit hotline, 281 351-7676. To start receiving the newsletters go the website MattFamilyOrchard.com and sign up.
Although, our picking schedule is seasonal we are available for fruit tree sales, local honey and preservers throughout the year by appointment. We also provide tours all year, tours require a minimum of 15, deposit and reservations.
October 31, 2011 - The orchard is closed for picking fruit this year. Our next fruit for picking will be in the April/May period with blueberries. We are open for the purchase of local honey, preserves, etc., and taking reservations for tours and bow hunts. Please call 281 467-9758 for reservations and information.
We all realize the drought and several consecutive days with triple-digit temperatures between June and September have taken a toll on Texas and the orchard. Asian persimmons were hit the hardest with the lack of rain. Our irrigation was not enough this year, we needed rain. Fruit production was low and some trees were lost. New persimmon trees are on order and will be planted. We also, postponed planting more blueberries and Asian pears because of weather extremes.
The Matt Family Orchard stumbled this year but we are not down. Your support is appreciates and we will do what is necessary to bounce back.
June 18, 2011 - Now picking blackberries, our hours are 8am to 1pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Early this year we planted 800 blueberries and plan to add an additional 1,600 in the fall off 2011. We started picking blackberries in late May and are continuing to pick. Itís surprising the number and size of the berries considering the lack of rain. We are fortunate to have irrigation. Iíd appreciate if you could pray for rain. Please. Just to make your visit a little more pleasant, we added a hay ride to the berry area, a covering with picnic tables and cold water.
It wonít be long before the figs are ready for picking. If you are on the email newsletter list you will get notification in plenty of time.
September 28, 2010,
New hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Sunday 1pm to 5pm, closed on Mondays.
We start October 1st with pumpkins and picking Asian persimmon . Persimmons are mostly ripe now and ready for picking. Price will be the same as last year, $1.35lb. The fruit was affected by the freeze in February and the drought during the summer. Satsuma froze so there will not be any this year. We replanted Satsuma for the coming years.
As in the past years Iím offering the picnic area free of charge for folks to enjoy a picnic in the orchard but, I MUST have the area cleared by 2pm for private functions. Also for an enjoyable experience for both of us please review ĎGood Picking Practicesí listed on my web site.
Orchard grown pumpkins will not be ready for picking off the vine. I planted two acres of pumpkins, too late for October. Might have some for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Still itís not a futile exercise. I purchased some humidity resistant pumpkin seed from a wholesale seed company to see if we can grow pumpkins in Houstonís humid weather. Being the 1st time I planted a pumpkin, Iím learning how to grow pumpkins. Itís not as easy as you might think. If successful Iíll plant more for next year and earlier. We do have purchased pumpkins from west Texas. At the orchard there are mini, pie, jack-lanterns and hay. Coming will be the very large pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks. Like in the past years we will supply bulk pumpkins for private events.
Harvest Festivals tours are being conducted in October. Please see my web site for activities. A minimum of 15 people, reservations and a deposit is required. These tours are very popular in October and we still have some open weekdays available.September 12, 2010 Where does time go? Iíve been busy at the orchard with the following new improvements. First we now have a 2,000sq ft pavilion with lights, fans and outlets. Itís available for rent and tours. I anticipate it the pavilion can be used for receptions, company events, reunions, church gatherings, social groups, tours, etc. Second, we planted two acres of pumpkins however; we were late planting and not blessed with needed rain. Therefore, I doubt you will be able to go to the field and cut a pumpkin this year. Itís not all for nothing because Iím testing a new mildew resistant pumpkin seed and testing if pumpkins can grow in Houston. Third, we started preparing the ground to plant 800 blueberry plants for June blueberry picking. I donít plan to have a large crop the first year but every year production will increase. Fourth, we replaced the citrus lost in the February freeze; again it will take a couple of years to get back to having enough citrus. WOW ---------I guess I just answered my first question. Now I know werethe time want.
Asian persimmon picking is still planned for October or sooner. Itís always good to remind folks that our hours are seasonable and vary with the fruit ripening. If youíre on our news letter list or call the fruit hot line you will know when picking has started and picking schedule.
July 10, 2010 Blackberries are finished for the year. A couple of weeks earlier than normal, mostly due to the lack of June rain and the heat. We are picking figs, an abundance of figs. Payment method is cash, credit card, and check. Please no credit card charges $10 or less.
Picking day and times are; 7:30 to noon, Tuesday through Saturday.
July 2, 2010 WOW what a wonderful rain we received this morning. Finally received some when everyone else had rain, it makes a difference in the orchard as you can imagine. The blackberries suffered but, the rest of the fruit coming on will benefit. Figs are a fruit that ripens over a few days therefore, if you want 10 to 15 pounds it may require two trips for picking, it all depends on the number of folks picking when you are here. Maybe coming early you will beat the heat and other pickers. Figs are $3.50 per pound.
I also want to mention a new policy starting in July. We ask that credit card sales $10 and under not be made. Merchants are charged by the transaction and amount, the fees could be 4% depending on what card is used. Credit card fees have increased along with the processing service I use. Keep in mind that all merchants pay for the points you receive from your credit card purchases.
Starting next Tuesday, July 6th we will be picking blackberry and figs. Our new hours for picking are; Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30am to noon.
JUNE 10, 2010 We have lots of blackberries for picking. It seems all 6,000 plants came in at the same time this year, must have something to do with the cold February. Also, Channel 13 called and they want to come at noon on Wednesday and shoot a news clip on picking blackberries. Iíd guess this will generate a crowd of pickers after it airs.
May 31, 2010
Itís May and we started picking Blackberries. The cold February helped push the berries to new heights, we have plenty for everyone. Last year it was suggested that we open early and we listened. Our hours are 7:30 to 3pm Tuesday through Saturday closed on Sunday and Monday. We are open on Memorial Day.
We have everything you need to pick with the exception of your fingers. I suggest cool weather cloths, a hat and you may need sun lotion and mosquito spray. Every effort is made to keep the grass cut and the area clean.
The only cost is for the berries which is $3.50lb. We take cash, checks and credit cards.
Our next fruits for picking are figs, Asian pear, Jujube, Asian persimmon and citrus. If you sign up, from our website, for the newsletter you will get picking days and times notification when fruits are ready.
Merry Christmas We closed the orchard for fruit picking. Our next fruit is in May, 2010 for blackberry.
On each Friday and Saturday from 9am to 1pm the Farmers Market will be open selling locally grown vegetables.
With a minimum of fifteen, tours are conducted with reservation and a deposit.
Orchard nursery will be open with reservations or every Friday and Saturday mornings.
Bow hunting is available with reservations.
For reservations call 281 467-9758.
Happy Thanksgiving Today is a day to give thanks and remember all our blessings. Hope you have a pleasant day with family and friends.
We are still picking Asian persimmon. We will be open Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving from 9am to 5pm.
Exit from Highway 290 and FM 2920 to Mueschke, Google and some GPS directions are wrong.
November 11, 2009 Yes, we still have persimmon. Folks are finding the lower and larger persimmons on either the east or west side of the orchard in the back few rows. There are plenty for everyone. Satsuma was very popular this year, and they are all picked. We do have lime and lemon left. We also have pumpkins if you want to decorate for Thanksgiving.
Tours are conducted at anytime of the year. This year we experienced the largest group everÖ.250 single young adults from a local church. In October there was nearly a tour everyday with folks celebrating birthdays, friends and family gatherings, school field trips, play groups, etc. Make reservation early to insure you get your desired date. We already took a reservations for May, 2010.
In the nursery for sale are persimmon at 35.00 and 45.00; pecan trees at 45.00; thornless blackberry at 4.50; Satsuma at 35.00; and sago palm at 15.00.
Fall is orchard cleanup time replacing trees, pruning, planting figs, blueberries and Satsuma and making improvements. Thereís lots of work to get ready for next year. Itís important for us to upgrade and maintain the orchard for your fun and enjoyment. When is rest time?
November 3, 2009, Thanks to the cool weather we still have Asian persimmon to pick. I anticipate we will be picking through November. Iíll close for Thanksgiving Day but be open during our regular hours unless posted differently. Our hours are: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm; Sunday, 1pm to 5pm; Monday, closed.
October 20, 2009 We are picking Asian persimmon and selecting pumpkins. Folks are getting large persimmon. Bigger than what I expected, very happy about that. The weather has improved; in fact itís been wonderful. I anticipate we will have persimmon up to Thanksgiving Day.
PLEASE NOTE A PROBLEM WITH GOOGLE MAP:
We discovered a problem with Google Map, they have the address correct but the driving directions is incorrect. The problem has also affected your GPS. We have contacted Google and reported the problem but have no idea when they will make the correction. In the mean time, use Yahoo Map or use the map and driving instructions on the Contact page from my web site.
Google Map has you exit on Bauer off HWY 290 and FM 2920, you should exit on Mueschke and turn west on Bauer Hockley for one mile.
September 24, 2009 Asian Persimmon season is here starting in October 1st our picking hours are Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm. We will be closed on Mondays. This year you will find plenty of fruit at $1.30 per pound however, the fruit will be smaller than last year. The reason is ...No Rain. Keep in mind the taste of persimmon is the same for large fruit as it is for small fruit. Again this year we are offering you the use of the picnic area on Saturday and Sunday until 3pm. After 3pm the picnic area is reserved for scheduled tours. Please review 'The Good Picking Practices' to allow for a happy experience.
Harvest festival is available in October with a reservation and deposit. Cost of the harvest festival is $8.00 per person which includes a 5-8 pound pumpkin. We allow two supervisors per 15 children at no charge. All tour activities listed above are included plus dressing scarecrows.
The pumpkins patch at the orchard and is now open. Everyone is invited to come to the pumpkin patch with their family. Before 3pm on weekends families can use the picnic facilities, and playground, pick fruit, take pictures and select a pumpkin and have a fun family event. No minimum, no fees and no reservations are required. We are open to the public.
After 3pm the picnic facilities are reserved for group tours that made reservation and have exclusive use of the picnic area.
Look forward to your visit.
For the past several years we have provided bulk pumpkins to schools, day cares, churches, private parties, fun raiser, pumpkins for our pumpkin patch, etc.
We can provide; mini, pie,. jack-O-lantern, max pumpkins plus fancy pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, corn stalks, scarecrows, etc.
We can deliver to your location or you can pick up.