Got Apples?

MORP Seeks Apples to Buy

Do you have ripe apples that meet the criteria below? If so, please let Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project know! We are using the apples for pasteurized juice boxes so health regulations apply.

For Apples that YOU pick:
  • Harvest from tree or shake onto clean tarp. No ground falls allowed.
  •  Apples must be clean – free of dirt, manure, leaves, twigs, or rot, and harvested into clean boxes or crates (see our Harvest Lending Supplies). Do not harvest where there is fresh manure and livestock. Follow GAP practices.
  • We will pay $8/bushel for quantities of 20 bushels or more that you pick and deliver to the Orchard Hub (see directions below) per season. For quantities less than 20 bushels we will gratefully accept donations.
For Apples that WE Pick:
  • Reach out to us if you have an estimated crop of 20 bushels or more and have an orchard that is free from livestock and fresh manure. Please rotate livestock out of orchard well ahead of harvest season.
  • MORP will pay $4/bushel for apples that we pick that meet the health regulations described in the YOU pick section above. We are limited on the number of orchards that we can pick per season so reach out to us as soon as you know you have a crop for an increased opportunity to schedule your orchard in.
Community Juicing Day

Bring your apples and let us turn them into juice on Community Juicing Day! Or do you simply want to purchase juice and do not necessarily have apples to bring? Either way, please join us at the Orchard Hub! 

Mobile Juicing Service

Have 20 bushels of apples or more? Consider scheduling our mobile juicing service.

Harvest Lending Supplies

Do you need crates or bins to more easily participate in any of the above activities? Please go here to reserve supplies. Our harvest lending supplies program is made possible with support from the LOR Foundation.

Directions to Orchard Hub

Directions to Orchard Hub:  13729 (formerly 13751) Road 29, Dolores, Colorado : THIRD DRIVEWAY ON THE WEST SIDE OF ROAD NORTH OF SOUTHWEST SEED. Please schedule in advance or visit during scheduled event.

Contact

morp@montezumaorchard.org

Montezuma’s Comeback: the number of Colorado apple orchards is growing again

A century ago, the apple boom was in full swing in Montezuma County.

The home of Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado had a high enough elevation and dispersed enough orchards to stave off the codling moth that decimated apple trees on the Front Range and Western Colorado in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

At the peak, there were about 5,000 acres of orchards in Montezuma County, producing several million bushels of apples a year. As of the early 2000s, the county’s apple acreage had dwindled to a little more than 100. Continue reading at Thirst Colorado...

BY ERIC PETERSON, August 14, 2023

MORP Capital Campaign

 

Cheers to MORP
Cheers to MORP

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 30, 2020: MORP just held a celebratory virtual cheers! with its new partner The Nature Conservancy. Thank you to everyone that help us reach our fundraising goal to purchase historic orchard property! MORP now has a HOME, an “orchard hub”, a place to grow its mission well into the future. Right now, we are excited to do the on-the-ground work to preserve our orchard heritage, demonstrate water conservation in orchards, and grow our local fruit economy.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Cheers to all our MORP members and supporters, The Nature Conservancy, Gates Family Foundation, Kenney Brothers Foundation, El Pomar Foundation Onward A Legacy Foundation. And most especially to the Olson Family who have farmed this ground for some 100 years. Thank you for entrusting us with your family’s legacy. Finally, we are humbled by Montezuma County’s “fruit growing wizard” Jasper Hall who broke ground on this historic orchard property back in early 1900. Thank you for your vision. We will move it forward.

MORP Capital Campaign phase I

http://montezumaorchard.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/MORP-Capital-Campaign-phase-I.pdf

Colorado Heritage Apple Trials Initiative

Colorado Heritage Apple Trials Initiative

http://montezumaorchard.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Colorado-Heritage-Apple-Trials-Initiative-.pdf

Mobile Cider Press Pilot

For the first time since Mountain Sun Juice closed its Dolores doors 14 years ago, local apple juice shipped out of Montezuma County in October, 2016. Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project produced and sold 2,200 gallons of Montezuma Valley Heritage Blend raw apple juice to hard cider makers in Denver, Boulder and Cortez. MORP used proceeds to purchase local heirloom apples, engage Montana’s NW Mobile Juicing, lease cold storage and processing facilities, ship juice and coordinate the project. Funded in part by a recently awarded USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant, MORP undertook this project to evaluate whether mobile juicing can help fruit growers reach juice markets. With the preponderance of juice apples in our orchards, market opportunity exists not only for hard cider, but for our fresh juice as well. Wouldn’t it be great if local apple juice could again be available in our own community?

In order for Ryal Schallenberger of Montana’s Northwest Mobile Juicing to bring his mobile juice press to Montezuma County, MORP needed to guarantee we would have 800 bushels of apples to press. Knowing there was a bumper crop on the trees, and that one orchard alone could produce 800 bushels, we said sure; and when Ryal set a date in mid-October, a 12-day crash-course on juice manufacturing ensued.

MORP set a goal to pick 100 bushels a day. After our first day yielded 20 bushels, albeit with only three pickers, we got nervous. MORP put out a call to pay fruit-growers for picked and delivered apples, volunteer picking crews were organized and seven orchard owners opened their gates to mostly complete strangers. Over the course of eight days, 32 volunteers and four orchard owners picked, shook, and packed 32,000 pounds of apples. Over and over we heard old-timers recount, “on a good day, so-and-so could hand-pick 100 bushels”. We were humbled by our fruit-growing pioneers.

Picking apples was one thing. What about selling juice? How would we price juice in a market ranging from $1.50 to $9.00/gallon? Where exactly does one put 800 bushels of apples and how do they get there? Furthermore, how do we move a tote of juice weighing 2,600 pounds, and how do we get six of them to Denver? Thanks to years of getting to know old orchards, their people, and folks in the cider business, we knew who to ask. The juice sold out, and box-by-box, MORP purchased and borrowed wooden fruit crates, 20-bushel bins and milk crates. We borrowed trucks, trailers, barns, rented a loader and leased a forklift, tractor, warehouse and cold storage from Russell Vineyards to finish the job. Well, almost. There was still that question of getting 10,400 pounds of juice to Denver, after numerous unsuccessful attempts at sourcing a refrigerated truck. But as luck would have it, Lang Livestock had just purchased a truck from our friends at Geisinger Feed. They shipped the juice on an open-air flatbed at night to keep it cool. How happy we were envisioning a 75’ Kenworth semi delivering Montezuma Valley Heritage Blend apple juice in downtown Denver early the next morning. Next time, we envision the truck being full.

MORP is grateful for everyone’s generosity and confidence, and the true community effort it took to accomplish this project. Let us do it again!

Completed Needs Assessment to study feasibility of MORP purchasing a mobile press for use in our heritage orchards:

CapLog - MORP - Needs Assessment - Final - Updated Jan 17
 http://montezumaorchard.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/CapLog-MORP-Needs-Assessment-Final-Updated-Jan-17.pdf

 

 

mobile press

MORP Old-Fashioned Newsletter, Fall 2016

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Montezuma Valley Apple Market Study

The market has returned for Montezuma Valley Fruits with consumers desire for the taste and heritage our local apples represent. Click links below describing market opportunities and challenges in the following documents 1) Montezuma Valley Apple Market Study, 2) Needs Assessment for Mobile Juicing Unit, 3) Feasibility Study for Mobile Juicing Unit, 4) Business Plan for Producing Apple Juice with a Mobile Juicing Unit, and 5) Mobile Juicing Service.

Apple Market Study - January 2018

Click to access Apple-Market-Study-January-2018.pdf

CapLog - MORP - Needs Assessment - Final - Updated Jan 17

http://montezumaorchard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CapLog-MORP-Needs-Assessment-Final-Updated-Jan-17.pdf

MORP Feasibility Study - Feb 5 2018 copy 2

Click to access MORP-Feasibility-Study-Feb-5-2018-copy-2.pdf

Finalrev - MORP Biz Plan - Mar 26

http://montezumaorchard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Finalrev-MORP-Biz-Plan-Mar-26.pdf

Mobile Juicing Service

Mobile Juicing Service
Mobile Juicing Service