Friday, October 9, 2009
There is an old apple grove not too far from where we live. Every year around this time we take our backpacks, hike into that old orchard, and almost always find our fill of these special fruits. They are special to us because in this long forgotten orchard there happens to be over twenty different varieties of apples and even a few pears scattered throughout the meadows. I'm sure that others must know of this place but we have never once run across anyone else picking apples. Nor does it appear that any apples have ever been picked by anyone other than the few black bears that inhabit this area. We have been gathering fruit here for over 10 years now.
These particular apples have an almost perfumy flavor to them, so very unusual.
Unfortunately, a family of beavers has set up camp in the meadows and has managed to flood the grounds around almost a third of the fruit trees so far, many of these are now dying. I suppose the good news would be that I have been saving seeds off these trees for several years now and have many of their offspring growing on my own property. Perhaps some of those trees will compliment our regular fruit trees and eventually produce delicious apples and pears similar to the ones in the flooded orchard.
Small, tart, golden crab apples. We had to wade through almost a foot of water to get to this tree.
Most of the apples we picked are being made into apple sauce as we can't help but bruise them. Between trying to get them out of sometimes 30-40' tall trees and hauling them around on our backs they never do make it home in the best condition. The huge variety of large, crab, green, gold, red, tart, and sweet apples make some of the best sauce. I will happily share this area with the beavers even if it means all the trees will be lost, anything would be better then losing it to another housing development, as we have many of our old stomping grounds. Progress, right?
Fully loaded and heading home with packs full of soon to be bruised apples.
So, for now, we will continue to enjoy these apples and this private place, perhaps we will need to search out new apple picking grounds while patiently waiting for our own little orchard to start producing. Nothing good lasts forever I suppose, we sometimes feel like the animals must, slowly being pushed farther and farther out as we attempt gather wild edibles.
This pear tree is almost 40' tall, and very thorny. I wonder how old it is?
The pears almost look like little apples, very small and very tart. I'll be planting a few of their seeds this fall.