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Lost Nation Orchard: growing organic apples with Apple Grower author Michael Phillips

Orchard Consultations

with Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips, organic orchardist -- click for more on Organic Orcharding Michael Phillips,
organic orchardist

Michael offers several ways for folks to get direct advice about their own orcharding efforts. You can choose literally to "walk" through an entire growing season with me via ongoing chats and emailed reports, always aimed at increasing your understanding of what it takes to produce a commercial crop of health-providing apples. Some people value a homestead visit as essential to their apple growing future. Others just want a good chunk of time on the phone to get important questions answered. And occasionally, someone in the "regional neighborhood" simply wants to see pruning done right.

"Michael's guidance helps me keep on track in my IPM orchard as I shift to a more holistic approach. He consistently emphasizes orchard health so as to be less dependent on chemical inputs. I have become more conscious of the trees, the soil, the humus, the pathogens and the beneficials as one integral system which I steward as the grower."
Susan Snipes-Wells, Pennsylvania
Michael Phillips, organic orchardist, pruning an apple tree

Introducing the
Orchard Calling Card

Some growers simply need dedicated phone time with an experienced holistic orchardist. You can now purchase an Orchard Calling Card ($100) to arrange for 100 minutes of Michael's undivided attention. Some people easily go the distance in a single phone call. Others have opted for detailed email answers to arising questions. This economical option suits growers from further away who need to zero in on orcharding nuance.

"Best hundred bucks I've ever spent."
George Naylor, Iowa

The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way by Michael Phillips -- click for book summary The Holistic Orchard: Growing Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
Now on DVD!
DVD: Holistic Orcharding with Michael Phillips -- click for dvd description and video Holistic Orcharding with Michael Phillips
The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist by Michael Phillips -- click for book summary The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist

Commercial Orchard Consultation

Fruit growers with a bearing orchard can contract with Michael for year-long guidance. We'll discuss ecosystem dynamics, the impact of management choices on the biology, organic transition issues, insights into understory and soil health, and integrated pest strategies in a first lengthy conversation. Having soil test results and spray records from past seasons available beforehand can be a big help.

A site visit can be arranged at additional cost, if such is desired and it suits the ol' travel schedule. Photographs, an orchard schematic, and directed questions can often be enough to introduce a distant site properly. Fine-tuning insect and disease dynamics for a specific locale is a big part of the commercial package. Equally important is exploring how the scale of a fruit growing operation ties into community market potential. You will also receive detailed topic reports, customized to meet the circumstances of your situation, written from the perspective of solely organic options or strong desire to better emphasize system health in an existing IPM program. Then, throughout a full growing season, you can phone and email Michael to answer all those nuance questions that inevitably arise.

A Commercial Orchard Consultation (packages start at $1800 for the first year) encompasses a substantial introductory visit by phone or in person, a comprehensive holistic management plan for the season to come, 'What's Ahead' emails that outline imminent management decisions, detailed topic reports as appropriate, weekly availability of Michael to talk through challenges with an experienced mentor (including what size orchard is right for you), a signed copy of both The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard, and a 'Season Review' to analyze lessons learned and further refine biological insights. Subsequent years can be added to this package if you find ongoing guidance with Michael essential. Please ask for travel cost details and renewal rates. Our mutual goal will always be to grow healthy fruit for your community!

Commercial Site Evaluation

Those with serious orchard inclinations -- be it to provide luscious fruit shares or world class cider -- can tap into Michael's experience in discerning the lay of the land. The planting of fruit trees is a big investment that needs to be done right. Excited and ready to make that big leap? Great! But first let's spend some valuable time together thinking through what lies ahead.

A Commercial Site Evaluation (starting at $1400) consists of a six hour session to explore orchard design based on ecosystem advantage. A full overview of rootstock, training systems, understory considerations, varieties aimed at achieving a righteous market mix, proper soil prep, and equipment needs will help reveal exactly what this great idea of yours involves. Includes a written report and the latest edition of The Holistic Orchard. Michael will assist with negotiating your custom tree order as well. Travel cost details can be had simply by asking.

Home Orchard Consultation

Folks new to orcharding or struggling to make headway can get a real-time boost to the learning curve involved in healthy orcharding. Michael will look at planting options that best fit the ecosystem where you live on a scheduled site visit. Pruning technique can be demonstrated where trees are already in the ground. You'll receive a comprehensive set of recommendations that will fit the time you envision having available for orcharding. Sound advice on cultivars, rootstocks, and especially soil nutrient balance can make a big difference towards achieving a plentiful fruit supply for the family.

A Home Orchard Consultation (starting at $750, further expenses determined by travel distance) includes a four-hour site visit, pruning and biodiversity recommendations, a review of specific pest and disease challenges, soil fertility recommendations from an orchard perspective, written management plan, and a spiral-bound copy of the Tree Fruit Field Guide. This package also includes a free Orchard Calling Card to provide additional time to check in over the course of the coming season.

Adapted illustration by John Bunker, FEDCO Trees -- click for Holistic Orchard Research home page
Check out the latest in Holistic Orchard Research

Apple Doctorin'

Pruning apple trees is one of the rites of spring. Michael provides a custom pruning service within a ninety mile radius of Lost Nation Orchard for people who want professional work done on their trees. Feel free to ask "anything apple" as pertains to the health of your trees while the pruning gets done. This service costs a flat $60 per hour, including travel time.

Holistic Orchard Intensive

This "organic apple everything" weekend at the farm around bloom time with Michael inspires people to pursue their own orchard dreams. Come gain the practical insights needed to establish your own fruit planting based on the biological systems approach used here at Lost Nation Orchard. Details about this yearly orcharding class can be found by clicking that blue link!

updated 9 July 2018


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