Thursday, April 21, 2011

Expanding the Orchard

When we purchased our farm it came with a recently planted apple orchard.  It came into fruiting last autumn and was a joy to taste the wide range of different apples that were planted by the previous owner. Shari and I have specific tastes.  We love fresh fruit- from the wild black caps that are found on our property to the strawberries we planted when we moved in. So how to expand the orchard?  We love pears, peaches, plums and cherries so that was where we would start.  Some of the apple trees in our orchard were attacked by field mice this Winter so we sought to replace the damaged trees with one of our favorites - Honey Crisp.  To purchase trees,  we looked to a local fruit tree nursery Schlabachs. Don't look for them on the internet as they only do business by mail and phone.  The UPS driver dropped a large box on our porch this morning and Shari asked 'are you expecting a delivery'? I had forgotten all about the trees!  We ordered 15 trees that will add to our orchard.  Peach jam is my favorite so we had to have some peach trees.  I make a killer almond pear tart so we had to add some pears. We had trouble deciding which varieties to order and ended up with Red Bartlett, Bosc and Clapp's Favorite.  We found that we both liked the same kind of plums - the red juicy kind that drip down your chin (not the small purple skinned, green fleshed kind) so we ordered Methley plum, a self pollinator and very prolific and for a nod to my time in Japan, we bought a Satsuma plum. This dainty tree is said to yield large deep red fruit.  For all our trees it will be a few years till we see any noticeable fruit; probably 5-7 years. But now we have a real orchard with over 60 trees growing cherries, apples, plums, pears and peaches.  If all goes well, we will have plenty of fruit to nourish us throughout the year and fruit to spare to share with friends and to see at the roadside.  What is next?  Paw Paws?

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