One of the joys of writing this blog is hearing from readers who share their stories with me.
After my post about apples on September 17th, I heard from two cousins with more apple tales. Cousin Sue heard an NPR piece about a man in Vermont who raises heirloom apples at his orchard. This orchardist, who dislikes Honeycrisp apples (he calls them a “one note apple”), tried to feed them to his pigs. They ate them the first time, but after that when he tried to give them Honeycrisps for dinner they tipped over their trough.
Cousin Patti and her husband Tom, who were on a trip to Northern Michigan, visited “Christmas Cove,” an orchard in Northport, Michigan that grows two hundred and fifty antique varieties of apple. They were excited to find some of the apple names our great grandfather William E. Hall had listed in his journal. When they showed the list to the orchard owner she said they raise seven or eight of the apples on William’s list. So in honor of our great-grandfather, Patti bought some Blue Pearmain apples. William’s list calls them “Black” Pearmain, but that seems close enough for me.
Tom also shared this quote from Henry David Thoreau’s book “Wild Apples.”
I know a Blue Pearmain tree, growing on the edge of a swamp, almost as good as wild. You would not suppose that there was any fruit left there, on the first survey, but you must look according to system. Those which lie exposed are quite brown and rotten now, or perchance a few still show one blooming cheek here and there amid the wet leaves. Nevertheless, with experienced eyes, I explore amid the bare alders and the huckleberry-bushes and the withered sedge, and in the crevices of the rocks, which are full of leaves, and pry under the fallen and decaying ferns, which, with apple and alder leaves, thickly strewn the ground. For I know that they lie concealed, fallen into hollows long since and covered up by the leaves of the tree itself, – a proper kind of packing. From these lurking places, anywhere within the circumference of the tree, I draw forth the fruit, all wet and glossy, maybe nibbled out by rabbits and hollowed out by crickets and perhaps with a leaf or two cemented to it…but still with a rich bloom on it, and at least as ripe and well kept, if not better than those in barrels, more crisp and lively than they.”
On Monday: Barns – Part I