Now It’s Raining Grapes!

After a summer of almost daily thunderstorms we are now being rewarded with an abundance of fruit. The wait between the pruning of our fruit trees and grape vines and the time they actually bear fruit is a little nerve wracking for me as I’m fairly new at it.  I read books, watch videos and listen to experts. I do actually try to go about this scientifically but the rain just added to my anxiety. The fruit, however, just loved it!

The grape vines produced so much we couldn’t pick them fast enough as we raced against some unusual October heat waves. Our plum tree gave us hundreds of plums. It was the first year we had any yield from that tree so it was very exciting. Our apples and pears are poking along, but even our newest trees bore fruit this year. The heirloom trees that came with the farm bear plenty but they have been neglected for decades and much of the fruit is too high to reach.

We make juice with the grapes using a steamer. I love the simplicity of this utensil. You don’t have to mash, de-stem, pit or anything. Just load it up and an hour later you have juice ready for canning. It also makes amazing apple juice and the leftover peels and pulp can be turned into a delicious apple butter or applesauce with minimum effort. It’s not your grandma’s apple butter but it is deliciously sugar-free and has the health benefits of incorporating the skins (unless you decide to peel, and we don’t, we just core).

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Our newest fruit trees were planted in what we call the Children’s Garden. It is called that partly because a few years ago we asked our adult children to choose a fruit tree to plant in our field. They all responded in a way that perfectly reflected their personalities. One response was quick and without deliberation (or research), “an apple tree.” It was up to us to choose the variety. Another response reflected a choice of loveliness of name but little attention to agrarian responsibilities, but that turned out to be our beautiful, bountiful plum. The two pear trees were chosen by the recently-engaged pair. They like puns. They like research too, and because they are also growers, they knew that pears like to be paired if they are to grow fruit. Perfect! All the trees are surviving. And, we just recently planted another tree for our grand daughter. It provided us with two glorious Delicious apples this fall.

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