Few years ago, I got an e-mail from a college professor. Seems some of his students at the time had stumbled across the following blog post on another blog of mine. He wanted me to know he’d heard them talking about my blog outside of class around the campfire on a class trip. Talk about honored. Anyway, Spring is in the air. If I want to do any pruning it needs to happen in the next couple of weeks. So, to kick off the 2019 apple growing season, I would like to repost the following musing.
Ten Reasons Why You May Want To Plant An Orchard.
(and if not a whole orchard, at least a couple of trees) 😉
Hanging scale in our sales area
1. Photo opportunities. Our apple orchard constantly changes with the seasons. There is always something catching my eye and bringing me joy.
2. It provides the perfect blend of solitude and social interaction. I love my peace and quiet. There is nothing more nurturing for me than spending a Saturday morning alone, picking apples. At the same time, I do love meeting and bantering with the public on occasion, and when the mood strikes, I will load up the pick up and head to our local farmers market.
Hawking apples at the farmers market last season
3. Supplemental income. Sure there is some work involved in tending an orchard, but not nearly as much as you might suspect. One Semi dwarf tree will cost you $20 to $25.00 and once it’s mature, it can produce between 2 to 4 bushel of apples a year. = 80 to 160 pounds of fruit @ $1.50 a pound that’s $120 to $240 gross, from one tree…per year..not bad for some additional pocket change if you ask me
4. mental stimulation. While the basics of tending an apple orchard are pretty easy to grasp, there is always something new to learn. Did you know there are over 750 different varieties of apples in the United States alone, and over 2000 varieties world-wide?
5. Keeps you physically active. “ Keep those muscles moving” my grandpa used to say. Between the pruning in the early spring, to the picking in the fall, having an orchard provides me with lots of opportunities to be physically active outside, all the while,I’m getting paid and enjoying some fresh air. As I get older I will probably do more of that “you pick” marketing, but for now, I can still climb and honestly, I love picking apples. Last Saturday, I picked about 1200 pounds of apples in about 6 hours.
6. Provides me with lots of opportunities to bless others. I’m not going to brag and tell you how this works itself out except to say, I try to sell mostly our #1 apples, which means, what to do with the seconds? The opportunities to give are all around.
7. Get to enjoy some varieties of fruit that are hard to come by normally – plus if you can find them, you’ll pay through the nose. Sure we have Honey crisp, was told last year they were charging up to $5.00 a pound for those little rascals. So far this year, I’ve picked 11 crates of them and probably have at least another 8. My personal favorite is called the Ginger Gold:
It is every bit as crispy as the Honey crisp and sweet. Last year we had 32 crates of these little jewels.
8. Fresh apple cider. You haven’t lived until you’ve had fresh apple cider pressed from your own apples. It’s got a texture and taste you’ll never , ever find in a store -ever. If you come to visit, and the apples are in season, you can help me press out a batch.
9. You’ll give the bees something to talk about. Ever hear of the “waggle dance”?
10. Provides me with lots of spiritual insight.
Life is full of mystery. I believe God has hidden the answers to some of our questions about life in the apple orchard.
Pruning and suffering. I hate it when people try to slap pat answers onto my life when I’m in the middle of something hard. It makes me angry. So I will not disrespect you and do that now. Sometimes it feels like I’m getting “pruned” and when it does, I barely have enough energy to survive, let alone do more.
Fruitfulness (ever see an apple tree grunt? Me neither.
Seasons. Apple trees don’t produce fruit 12 months out of the year. In fact, they need large blocks of “down time” in the winter..to get ready for the next season. They literally need that time, which is why apple trees don’t do well in warmer climates.
Variety. Already mentioned this one, but it bears repeating. Apple trees vary widely and differently in the type of fruit they produce. I think people are created much more varied than culture tries to tell us. I found an apple tree on an abandoned farmstead a few years ago like nothing I’d ever seen before. Some heirloom variety I’m sure. It looked and tasted just like it was designed to taste. Definitely not some domesticated boring apple. So why do you and I sometimes think we have to look like everybody else? Nothing more beautiful than someone being 100% alive just the way they were designed:
As always, thanks for reading my stuff DM