Ach du Lieber! The squirrels have invaded our orchard, causing more destruction than any previous year. We're attributing it to a lack of natural predators. Where are the hawks and foxes when we need them?
Our "Reliance" peach tree tends to produce ripe fruit in mid to late July. The squirrels aren't wasting any time taking three bites out of every peach and then dropping them to the ground. In self defense, we have picked nearly every piece of fruit off that tree. The peaches are currently on the large shelves of our plant stand, where they can continue to ripen indoors for a week or two before canning and freezing. Our other peach tree, "Contender" variety, will produce ripe fruit in a month. So far, the squirrels are allowing that fruit to grow.
Similarly, our "Colette" variety pear tree is very attractive to squirrels and so we've harvested that fruit as well. Orchard expert and author Michael Phillips recommends refrigerating pears for a few weeks, and then bringing them out slowly to ripen before use. The brew master at my house says we'll be juicing some of the pears for making perry (a fermented adult beverage using half pear juice and half apple juice).