Welcome to my first post of the 2012 season!
It is the season for planting, and we at North Star Orchard are busy tucking apple, peach, Asian pear trees, and grape vines firmly into the ground. They arrive from our suppliers in 10 foot long, heavy boxes, their roots kept moist inside plastic wrap. Each morning, we load a truck with the boxes and drive less than a mile through rows of blooming apple trees to the next field. One person drills holes in the ground with the tractor, and everyone else plants the baby trees, using hoes to surround each tree with a small mound of dirt.
I have some exciting news… that tractor driver is ME!!!
On my second day at work, Ike (the farmer and co-owner of North Star Orchard with his partner and wife, Lisa) taught me how to drive a tractor on the quirky Kubota L210. I learned to drive stick at Drumlin last season, so I had some elementary knowledge of how to drive a tractor. In the past week, I have spent almost 20 hours driving the L210. My job is to back carefully up to equadistant marks along the rows, and drill a hole with the drill attached to the back of the L210.
Lisa and Ike are trying something new with these baby trees: they are asking people to sponsor a tree. Sponsors get a tag on their tree, free gifts from North Star, and information about how their tree is doing over the years to come. Some people give the gift of a sponsorship as a memorial; others do it to have a baby tree in their life. If you’d like to sponsor a tree, don’t be shy! Click here for more info.
At North Star Orchard, we grow literally hundreds of varieties of fruit. In the past week, I have had a couple of Goldrush apples left over from the 2011 season; every bite contains a shock of rich apple-cider flavor that develops with each second. As Ike said to me at my interview in the fall, “We are big fans of crisp.” That’s when I knew I had to work here; there is nothing better than a perfectly crisp apple, straight from the orchard. Over the season, I hope to open my imagination to a world of fruit that I couldn’t have dreamt of; and I will be sure to share it with you.
As always, please ask questions, and comment! If I don’t know the answers, I’ll ask the farm crew, and pass along the info. Enormous thanks to Lisa, who took the pictures of my first time on a tractor.
P.S. And Lisa put together this lovely video of pictures, detailing our work this week… to some VERY enthusiastic music. This is how excited we are :-)….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGGmbewWSB4