Archive for October, 2014

One of our smokehouse apples from the Christian Baker Farm.

One of our smokehouse apples from the Christian Baker Farm.

We’ve been living here for over two years.  This is the third autumn — and the third time we noticed the apples on the big apple tree in the upper field.  The first two years, we assumed the smallish apples — mostly green in color — were likely crab apples and not suitable for eating.  This year, they had a beautiful red sheen to them!  We had friends over who mentioned the tree as we were picking persimmons (we’ve had a bumper crop of these sweet orange nodules this year).  So, we all walked up to the upper field and sampled some apples.  They were fantastic — crisp, slightly tart, and very sweet — simply delicious!  I immediately had visions of apple tarts and apple pies and apple sauce and apple slices with pork and apple —- well an apple orchard!

This past week I ordered two fruit pickers which arrived in the mail within four days.  Today, Sunday, Abbey, Taylor, Tammi and I headed to the upper field to pick our treasure.  Tammi was to keep our ram, Coal, at bay. Abbey scaled the tree and used her picker from on high with great results.  Taylor collected what Abbey and I were able to pluck from the tree.  While more than half of the fruit was partially rotten or holed by bugs, we still retrieved a couple dozen good specimens.

“We’ll have to get to them earlier next year,” declared Tammi, while I checked out the results.  “Why are you keeping so many bad ones?”

“I’m going to extract the seeds,” I said.

Earlier in the week I had contacted the prior owner, Glen Sarvis, who told me these were smokehouse apples.  I googled the variety to discover these were apples native to Lancaster County, first identified in the 1830s.  Could these legacy apples have been brought by the Bakers when they migrated across the river to these environs from Lancaster?  I decided to make every effort to grow a number of these native Pennsylvania apples – favored by our Dunkard forebearers.



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