Blue Heron Orchard
Blue Heron Orchard, a five acre orchard located near Hannibal, MO, has been certified organic since 1990, and is also the only organic orchard in the state of Missouri! Dan Kelly, who runs the farm, walked us through the rows of apple trees, which were sporting unripe apples about the size of golf balls. Since Dan doesn’t spray any synthetic pesticides he instead uses a tactic called “integrated pest management.” This includes using pheromone boxes and a prairie he planted around the orchard and burns or mows to control pests like codling moths. Left alone, a codling moth caterpillar will bore into an apple and stop its development — we got to see one in action when Dan spotted a suspicious apple and split it open for us. When the apples are harvested, Dan uses them to make everything from applesauce to apple leather (think, healthy fruit roll-ups) to apple cider to apple cider vinegar, the first two of which I’ve tried and can confirm are tasty! Blue Heron sells their products on the farm, at farmers markets (Schlafly and Tower Grove), and as part of Fair Shares CCSA among other places — check out their website to learn more!