Yesterday we attended the Home Orchard Society’s annual fruit exhibition and tasting.Â Â There were hundreds of varieties of heirloom apples and pears to taste, as well as dozens of grapes, hardy kiwis and more.
Â The children had a great time trying every apple variety imaginable.Â We tasted slice after slice of heirloom appleÂ and pear varieties with regal names like “Zambergau Reinette” and “Ashmead’s Kernel”, as well as ones that made the kids giggle (“Peasgood Nonsuch” and “Vicar of Winkfield”).
We already own several apple trees, including a “Karmijn de Sonnaville”, two “Cox’s Orange Pippin”s (my favorite apple), a classic “Honeycrisp”, an “Ashmead’s Kernel”Â and a “Liberty”.Â I had been trying to source the particularly tasty “Hudson’s Golden Gem” for over a year, and was lucky enough to find one on M26 rootstock yesterday.
We also picked up a Seckel pear tree.Â Despite its fanastic flavor and culinary use, this little tree is hard to find.Â The volunteer and I had a good laugh at the orchardist’s guidebook which declared the Seckel toÂ “produce fruit superior in flavor and texture, but on an altogether unattractive looking tree.”Â …guess it will be going in a corner in the backyard.
Â The children had the opportunity to press some cider, as well.Â They’re old hats at cider pressing, and were glad to share their skills and a sweet drink with their grandparents.
If you are a home orchardist, I encourage you to join the HOS, too.Â Their publication is educational, the members knowledgeable and welcoming, and the fruit-grafting fair in the spring a must-attend event.Â If you don’t yet have fruit trees on your property, these folks will help you to find a place and the right varieties, and you’ll enjoy a lifetime of unique flavors so much more rich and vibrant than anything you can buy in a store.
Joining up with Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for her weekly post on Gratitude, because yesterday’s outing was such a positive experience.Â Truly grateful for the rare treat of an outing with four children (8 strong-willed people in total!) that goes off without a hitch, where everyone has fun, and we got everything we hoped for out of the experience.Â Just an all-around wonderful day.