For the last 18 years, we’ve had a home fruit orchard. I can’t call it a backyard orchard as it was at our first home in the mid-west, as our 30 trees are in our front yard at our current house. It’s been so long that we’ve had fruit-growing in our yard, I really almost cannot remember a time we didn’t.
Our orchard includes three varieties of plums: Kaga, Toga, and Italian Prune Plums. All are delicious, but I like the Kaga best. They are sweet, with a flowery scent, and so beautiful to look at. In 2015, we had a bountiful harvest, as you can see!
We have sour cherry trees, probably a half dozen of two or three varieties. Sweet cherries do not grow well in our climate, as we miss the milder winters that provide some protect for those varieties. We have Meteor and Montmorency and Kristen. These are the names of the cherry varietals in our orchard. The Montmorency are great to make strudel and coffee cake. We haven’t quiet mastered a cherry pie, yet. They are always runny, so we tend not to waste using the cherries for those. Our harvest was great in 2015 and okay last year. Unfortunately, we missed harvesting most of the cherries due to a vacation and the birds got most of what we had in 2016.
Pears are another type of fruit we have growing in our home fruit orchard. The varieties escape me, but they are delicious as well. Again, harvesting pears last year was slim. We only had a few. None to share.
Most of our trees are apples. We have many varieties – the beloved Honey Crisp, the versatile Cortland, a variety developed in Minnesota called Sweet Sixteen, another type called Honey Gold which is more of a yellow apple with a sweet taste, and a few Haralson’s which are particular to the mid-west. They are my favorite. We’ve had some over the years that got damaged by storms, Winesaps, Johnathans, and others that we’ve had to replace. But, in 2015 we overflowed with apples! We made over 40 gallons of cider! Do you know it takes a 5 gallon bucket of apples to make one gallon of cider? It does! This is probably part of the reason the stuff is so darned expensive when you have to buy it.
And buy it, we did in 2016. Our apple harvest was nil. The trees blossomed and then we got a cold snap. No insects, no apples. Not to mention no blossoms, no apples, and no fruit. Again, this year, we had a warm snap, a few days to a week of 70 degree weather. The plum trees blossom, beautifully. Then, it turned cold. It has remained cold. The pears blossomed, and we are still cold. The cherries are just ready to blossom and today it will be in the 60’s. In fact, we are supposed to have a string of days in the 60’s. I hope so. I doubt we’ll have many plums or pears, but we still have a chance for cherries and apples. Oh, and there is that one apricot tree we put in this spring – another fruit, another chance, another harvest of all or none.
Inspired by the Daily Prompt: none