Can tree planting be considered an optimistic activity? I think so. Yesterday I arrived at home to find my five new apple trees had arrived. I was able to get three in the ground before the animals told me it really was time to feed them, so the last two will go in tonight.
Apples, much as we may think they are totally American, actually originated over in the Middle East! Over the centuries they have worked their way around the world, with many many varieties found and lost.
Found and lost? Yes, indeed! These days there are only a handful of apples that are regularly found: red and golden delicious, macintosh, pink lady, etc. The typical grocery store varieties. And these have mostly been bred for size, visual appeal, and staying power on the shelves. Forget taste!
Nope, if you want really good, and interesting apples, you must seek out heritage strains. Apples with names like "Dudley Winter," "Cox's Orange Pippin" and "Dutchess of Oldenburg." There are nurseries out there that strive to save these heirloom strains of apples, and it is well worth finding and patronizing them! I've gotten my heirloom apples from Fedco (in Maine) and St. Lawrence Nurseries (up in Potsdam).
Not only are these ancient apple types interesting, many have good insect and disease resistance, as well as hardiness for cold zones like here in Newcomb!
So, let's hope that planting apple trees means I will be around here long enough to see them produce fruit. Seeing as how four of my five new trees are basically sticks, that means several years. Here's hoping!