In our orchards at Stagrennan Farm we have been growing apples since 1962, continuing on a family tradition which began in Armagh in the late 1800's. We grow many varieties of both culinary (cooking) and dessert (eating) apple with bramleys accounting for the majority of our harvest. While the stages in the apple growing proces vary by variety, there are generall three stages.

Apples begin in the dormant stage. In this stage, the bud is not yet visible. As the bud develops, the apple moves into the silver and green tip stages. The bud tissue becomes visible and transforms from a dark brownish-silver color to a vibrant green. At this point, the bud is on the brink of blossoming. The green tissue continues to emerge from the bud and continues until half an inch is visible and the leaves begin to open. According to the Michigan State University Extension, this stage is often called the "Mouse Ear" stage.

The apple now enters the flowering stages. As the leaves fold back from the bud, the flower becomes visible. The flower bud slowly opens as the leaves grow in size and darken in color. When 80 percent of the flowers have opened, the apple tree is in full bloom. The tree's central flower, also known as the king bloom, is the first to open and can potentially yield the largest fruit. The flowering stage ends when all the flower petals have fallen from the tree.

Once the flower petals have been shed, the fruit clusters begin to develop. Small fruits will drop from the tree early in development, also known as the June drop. The fruit clusters are thinned by growers when they are between 15 and 21 millimeters in size. Thinning helpscontrol apple crop yields. Once the fruit reaches an inch in diameter, the growth continues steadily as the fruit changes in color. Once the fruit has ripened, the growth process is complete and harvesting begins.