Responsible farming

Golden Harvest has always been a leader in responsible farming. Because we believed in the importance of conserving water, as early as the mid-sixties we installed one of the first drip irrigation systems in the Northeast. Recently we’ve replaced our earlier irrigation systems with more efficient ones that are able to direct water exactly where it is needed, and at more precise flow-rates and intervals.

We use an Integrated Pest Management system in order to achieve the best crop possible while ensuring that the orchard will be healthy and sustainable for generations to come.

Our orchard workers

Orchard work at Golden Harvest is a year-round activity, and we have several full time staff workers to look after the trees. At harvest time, though, our seasonal picking crews may number as high as 70 workers. During peak harvest, picking goes on from first light, and often into the evening hours, making for long days. All of our apple pickers are well trained in required farm procedures and safety regulations. Click here to watch crew leader Derrick Powell explain the art of picking Paula Reds.

Pruning

Apple trees by design are always trying to grow upward. They constantly sprout new vertical branches that block the light, and prevent the interior apples from fully ripening. Light is also crucial for the development of the fruit buds for the following year’s crop. In order to keep the trees open to allow adequate penetration of light, and to keep branches properly spaced, selected branches are pruned by our workers twice a year (in summer and winter).

Innovations and new plantings

As the farm has expanded over the years, Golden Harvest has always implemented new concepts and techniques to improve the health and productivity and of the orchards. This involves planting new apple varieties, including two newly-developed New York varieties, SnapDragon and RubyFrost. We have also added many more acres of Honeycrisp, a variety that grows particularly well on our soil. Some of these new trees are close-planted, which will increase their efficiency and yield. These are close-planted dwarf trees (a technique also known as high density planting) supported b y an overhead trellis system.

GlobalGAP (Good Agricultural Practices)

At Golden Harvest Farms, food and worker safety have always been top priorities. In order to stay up to date on the latest procedures and industry standards, we decided to pursue GlobalGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification. GlobalGAP is the most comprehensive set of worldwide standards for safe and sustainable agricultural practices, encompassing food safety and traceability, worker safety and training, Integrated Pest Management, and environmental protection. To meet these certification standards, we are required to codify every procedure that takes place on the farm. We were very pleased to receive this certification, knowing that we are able to meet these very high standards. Third-generation family member Douglas Grout was responsible for developing and implementing Golden Harvest’s GlobalGAP compliance policies and procedures.