From stone to pomme as the seasons roll through, plus a short ode to pears and call for volunteers ... read more below!
Stone Fruit Season Sadly Ending
I haven’t written in a while, for I have been deeply caught up in the demands of the harvest. Stone fruit season, which happened mostly in July this year, was a veritable hail storm of fruit. So many of our trees are now, finally, after 3-7 years, starting to bear proper crops of fruit, so the harvest this year was literally twice of last year. I was, quite frankly, quite unprepared to harvest and then sell so much fruit so fast.
Stone fruit is particularly demanding, for most varieties do not hang on the tree. When they are ripe, they much be picked in a very few short days before they fall to the orchard floor and rot. They then must go into cold storage immediately and ideally be sold and off to customers in under a week, or the inevitable decay of entropy can start to unfold.
To get one last taste of stone fruit, order a bounty box for pick up at our farm this weekend.
Order a Bounty Box here!
Pomme Fruit Season Excitedly Starting
Now the season has moved onto the pomme fruits - the apples, pears, and quince, which all follow a far more sedate harvesting schedule. Most pomme fruit hangs on the tree longer, and can last in cold storage for many months. Our ancestors knew this, and specifically bred varieties best suited for sitting in a cold cellar throughout the winter. We grow over 40 varieties of apples here, and you can try many amazing varieties from us that will never be seen inside a supermarket.
Our apple sampler boxes current include Red Gravensteins, Cox Orange Pippin, Hudson's Golden Gem, Rubinette, Hawaii, OIpalescent and Red Devil apples.
Order an heirloom apple box here!
An Ode to Pears
Pears are a particular marvel to me. I love and respect these trees for their sheer abundance and generosity, and even for their finicky ripening needs To properly ripen and enjoy a pear, take a look at my blog post on the topic last year: https://birdsongorchards.com/blogs/news/my-favorite-heirloom-apples-how-to-ripen-pears-and-the-incandescent-quince
Cute Sierran Tree Frog hanging out on a Potomac Pear
They say “plant pears for your heirs” since it takes pear trees a while to get established, yet they can live and produce fruit for many hundreds of years. In this orchard, our pear trees are really coming into their own at year eight. And wow, what a mature pear can do. Most of our trees are producing 100+ pounds of fruit a year. If these trees and this farm are alive 100 years from now, each one could produce 10,000 pounds of fruit or more over it’s life. I know spending $40-60 for a tiny fruit tree sapling can seem expensive, but what a return over time, for the pollinators, birds and other wild things as well.
Our pear sampler boxes current include Warren, Magness, D'anjou, Red D'anjou, Blake's Pride, Duchesse D'angouleme and Potomac.
Order a gourmet pear sampler here!
Volunteer at the Farm!
We have started to welcome volunteers on the farm, to help with orchard maintenance and rose tending mostly, as well as some animal care chores. Would you like to learn more about regenerative agriculture, try new fruits, meet new animal friends, and/or get a free farm gym workout? I will announce our volunteer program more formally soon. In the meantime, if this sounds interesting to you, please send me an email.
Get in touch if you'd like to volunteer
A Few Final Thoughts
The fuel of our farm is a form of deep nostalgia, a cultural muscle memory, an epigenetic sense that this, this is what humans are meant to do. Every day, I feel in my muscles and the fibers of my soul that this work matters, growing healthy food for my local community is important in ways that transcend commerce and calories. We as humans can heal the earth, one food forest at a time.
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than the excitement and the gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
- Frederick Buechner