Shacksbury Orchard out of Vergennes, VT is collecting lost apple varieties and creating remarkably distinctive hard ciders from them. In the best thing since Rodolph came to the Island of Misfit Toys, the orchardists have grafted a Lost Orchard, propagating 12 carefully selected wild and heirloom apple varieties to over 1000 trees. No where near VT? Not to worry! You can find their ciders around the country and even order online.
Widespread Malus has compiled data on the USDA collection of Malus sieversii (Central Asia- genetic homeland of apples) that might be useful in selecting accessions (scions or budwood) to request from USDA. We are collecting a ‘core diversity collection’ from the USDA collection that is especially diverse. Our goals are to make this diversity available to others, to grow out large number of open-pollinated seedlings, and make deliberate crosses with hand pollination in pursuit of useful new apple cultivars. However, there are a large number of other Malus sieversii in the USDA apple collection that will not be part of our diversity subset.
USDA’s Malus sieversii collection has enormous genetic diversity, and could serve as a useful reservoir of genes for use in breeding projects. There is already work being done in academia and by small numbers of nursery professionals and/or hobbyists.
We are hopeful that others can use this data compilation in their own work!
Here at the Greenhorns love art and we love farmıng and we love creative subversive people, and so you might imagine that we really love creative subversive art about farming. We’ve blogged about these guys a few times before, and we are delighted to remind you that they’re still creating great art all the time. The above image is from their beautiful 2014 Annual Harvest project in which empty fruit boxes were placed near an apple farm in the Flemish countryside and painted with text that emerged from conversations with a local farmer. Check out the wonderful photographs of the process and instillation here!
Futurefarmers describes itself as ”a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an interest in making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, the design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program and our research interests. We are artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of ‘not knowing’.”
A casual stroll through their webpage is highly encouraged Saturday morning activity.
Tickets for the tasting are $15 and can be purchased online at maine-fare.org OR by calling 207-338-6575. Ticket holders receive 10 3oz pours, and must be 21 years of age to enter the event. And find more information here.
Though this video is set in Germany, the same situations exist across North America. Learning how to care for these old trees is not only a valuable skill that will give these trees a new lease on life, but one that will allow you to harvest the results for many years to come.
Do you know of an old abandoned orchard/individual trees waiting to have their dignity restored? Do you want to find an old abandoned orchard to fix up? Do you want to learn how to restore an old apple tree? Do you know how to restore an old apple tree? Contact this gal.
Nothing about the proposed lifting of this [no apples from China] regulation is good for American fruit growers or consumers. Aside from reducing the already meager profit margins of the fruit farmer by the addition of a new (HUGE) apple supplier, the importation of Chinese apples opens up the possibility of introducing foreign pest and disease, which can affect many more fruits than just apples and make growing organic even more difficult. Also, the way these apples are grown in China is not regulated. Many Chinese apple orchards are located on sites with detectable arsenic in the groundwater and the long-outlawed arsenic-based pesticide spray is still in use there, leading to the discovery of arsenic levels in some samples of Chinese apple juice exceeding federal US drinking-water standards.
Taken from regulations.gov: “The regulations in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-68, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests that are new to or not widely distributed within the United States.
The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of China has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow apples (Malus pumila) from China to be imported into the continental United States.
The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan’s recent vote to ban all gmo products and gm crops is important. Why? It is estimated that 90% of all temperate fruit in the WORLD genetically comes from this region. With food forests dotting the mountainous countrysides of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, it is the Eden of the world, brandishing a diversity of ancient fruit genetics that is unparalleled by any other place on earth. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are known as the birthplace of apples, where these genetics have been evolving for 4.5 million years. Good job, Kyrgyzstan!
Photo source: Eliza Greenman
The orchard can be a magical place; endless acres of peaches, pears, or apples in gorgeous bloom by the roadside, producing delicious fruit. But an orchard, by definition, is a monocultural crop – nothing but one type of fruit tree that requires a lot of time, effort, money and pesticide to create produce for the billion dollar fruit industry. With organic orchards becoming more common but still very labor intensive, what are future fruit farmers to do? They completely rewrite the book on orchard management by using permaculture.
This is exactly what Stefan Sobkowiak does in Olivier Asselin’s new film, The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic. Sobkowiak owns and operates Les Fermes Miracle Farms, an orchard in Canada that he converted to a permaculturally-diverse organic orchard over the last twelve years. Asselin’s film condenses Sobkowiak’s decades of knowledge and experience into a seriously educational primer on how to propagate, grow, manage, and enrich one’s orchard. Clear instructions, animation, and demonstration make this film an important addition to your video learning library. To read more of this review by Examiner.com, click HERE—>
To purchase this video by DVD or download, click HERE
Do any of you annual farmers ever get tired of bending over all day and dream of growing food whilst standing? There is a solution- you can grow food (and drink) on trees! The US is currently witnessing a booming growth in hard cider production that shows no chance of slowing anytime soon. The demand for cider apples is at an all time high and few farmers out there are growing them. Outfits like NPR and Modern Farmer have picked up on this apple shortage and produced articles in the past week.
NPR interviewed Steve Wood, co-owner of Farnum Hill Cider, who says: “Few farmers in the U.S. grow the “bittersweet” and “bittersharp” varieties historically favored in Europe, which has a much richer tradition of cider-making than America. As a result, many U.S. craft cider producers are making do with apples meant for eating — like Golden Delicious, Fuji, Pink Lady and Gala. These apples, while sweet and crunchy, make poor cider — dull in flavor and bite, with little structure behind the alcohol, cider makers say. Per pound, [these] inedible cider apple varieties sell for almost 10 times the price of table apples.”
(If anyone out there is interested in growing cider apples/heirlooms and doesn’t know where to start, there aren’t many sources out there to help you. For general inspiration and help in identifying a network of growers (young and old), email the Foggy Ridge Cider orchardist, she’ll help you out. email@example.com.)