Starting an orchard

I spent the day at the Peninsula Fruit Club’s grafting show. I picked six varieties of apples, focusing mostly on very early and very late types, with just a few mid-season fruits. Mike Shannon did the Yellow Transparent graft – I really want to grow that apple so I was glad to have a very experienced grafter do it for me. Next I sat through a grafting video, scribbling notes madly. Then I spent an hour at the grafting workshop as a patient member showed me how to do a tongue and groove graft and helped me out when I got stuck. “Be one with the tree,” he said, half-jokingly, and I muttered “be one with the tree” to myself as I worked. I used the grafting knife I bought at the event so I could get used to it. This is such a dedicated club. These folks volunteered their … Continue reading

Apple compote

When I went to process the wrinkled apples from the root cellar I was surprised I hadn’t yet posted the apple compote recipe I use. Here it is in all its simplicity. Apple Compote Peel, core, and rough-chop enough apples to make about four cups of apple chunks. Keep them in water with a bit of lemon juice in it until they’re ready to go in the kettle. Syrup: two cups of water, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add the apples to the syrup. Bring to a boil again, then simmer until the apples are soft and the liquid has thickened a bit. Pour into jars and keep refrigerated. I love this both as a topping and by itself. … Continue reading

Apple quick bread

Here’s the recipe for the quick bread I made for the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance meeting tonight. Since I have a lot of Karen’s milk I used that, although you could easily use water. Apple Quick Bread 1/2 cup melted butter (I clarified mine) or vegetable oil 1/2 cup milk (Black Jack Valley Farms) 3 eggs, beaten lightly (Black Jack Valley Farms) 2 1/4 cups flour 1 cup sugar 3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 cup applesauce or apple compote Mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Bake in 350′ oven about an hour or until the bread is brown. … Continue reading

Fruit Club Fall Show

The Peninsula Fruit Club’s Fall Fruit Show turned out to be even more fun than I expected it to be. Ted, Alex and I spent several hours at the show today. The guys attended a lecture on pruning while I checked out all the displays and talked to experts about espalier techniques, pest control, and orchard mason bees. The centerpiece of the show was the fruit, many tables filled with plates of apples – I counted over 100 varieties, and the club members assured me this is a bad year, they usually have many more. We could taste a slice of the ones that interested us. Not just apples either, the fruit on display included pears, blueberries, and many varieties of grapes. We plan to put in fruit trees next spring so this was a very timely show. The espalier lecture filled us with ideas about places to squeeze in … Continue reading