Orchard Addition

Today we finally got outside to prune the fruit trees in the orchard. We had a few chances back in January, but we frittered away those warm weekend afternoons, assuming the winter was following the same snowless pattern as last winter.

Ha.

So this weekend we decided to get out there before our next snowfall, which is expected to start tonight. We had a pretty decent amount of melting with temps in the 40s this week, so it wasn't all that bad. The snow in most places didn't reach over the tops of my boots, and the snow on the ground actually made pruning easier, because we could really see the outline of the branches against the white background. Our trees are still pretty young, so pruning isn't a huge task, and we were done in a half hour or so.

Since we finally took down the dying evergreen trees in the front yard this past fall, we now have a little more sunny space in west end of the orchard. After we put the tools away, we spent some time tromping around that space to decide on a new fruit tree.

In the end, we decided we just had room for one, which meant choosing something self-pollinating. To Tiegan's chagrin, that cuts out plums. We also decided that sour cherries are too much work in the processing (and you have to process them because they're too sour to eat off the stem). After browsing Miller Nurseries' website, we decided on ...


Figs! 

This wasn't really on our radar standing around outside, so hooray for the internet. We decided on a Brown Turkey fig, which is the hardiest variety you can get. This Mediterranean fruit will need some winter protection, but should survive if we are careful. I have read that this variety isn't the best-tasting, but the only people complaining are from California (where I imagine a zillion different varieties can be grown). People in the East think that they are good, so climate may play a role here — or maybe you take what you can get where winters are cold. Kirk used to eat them off the tree when he worked at Old Salem, so he's psyched. I don't think I've ever had one ripe, but these recipes make me excited to try them!

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