About the Fruit Forest
One long-term goal is to establish a robust grove of fruit trees. The orchard is planted on a south-facing slope behind the greenhouse, the most exposed place on the farm. Initially we potted bare root whips and cared for them in the greenhouse. When they were large enough to transplant outside, we created guilds (think plant communities) of apple or pear trees surrounded by Siberian pea shrubs and currants or gooseberries. Each apple or pear tree is surrounded by Siberian pea shrubs and currants or gooseberries. Clover is seeded among the guilds to inhibit weeds and fix nitrogen in the soil. We planted more than 20 varieties of apples, including some heirlooms, to identify the best tasting fruit that will thrive in this environment. Mainstream apples include Macintosh, Baldwin and Cortland. We’re also excited about some rare ones like Sops of Wine, Snow, Sheep Nose, Mutsu, Lodi and Smokehouse. They are all different with their own characteristics – some are dessert apples for baking succulent pies, while others are for the pure joy of eating the crisp, sweet fruit.