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Planning is a winter task

Scionwood of 100 varieties and limited rootstock. See Scionwood, rootstock page. The collection is to share. Fees partially support the time.

Scionwood is cut and offered for a small donation at local Fruit Growing organizations as well-typically in March. It is a fundraiser from generous members’ own collections.

Today, 19th October, we have fresh and frozen (always available) Cider, and what is left to pick in the field are rough Braeburns, Quince, 30# Hudson’s Golden Gem, Rubinette. There are a few hundred pounds of drops/gleaners. $5/person, includes 2 1/2 # basket each that you can fill with picking or fruit from our stand or just come to visit the animals! They are a delight to visit and appreciate the company-especially the 2 month old goats!

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My favorite apple so far…the homely brown ones in the photo. Some years it fails. This years it stands up to the best of the intensely flavored apples, like Belle de Boskoop (below), Karmijn de Sonneville, Ashmead’s Kernal, Spitzenburg and Crimson Topaz. With its fissured, coarsely russetted calyx it produces an evening glow of amber dressed with gold fleck and a carmine blush. Tart and exotic, zingy when first picked, mellowing over a few days to a balanced cidery meal. The thick breaking crumb cake skin yields nicely despite its roughness. It goes soft in a few weeks. The challenge is cropping…these apples consistently bear light crops, often a quarter of say Honeycrisp or Jonagold, thus as low a price I can muster.

Heirloom apple Belle de Boskoop, pie, sauce, fresh

Heirloom Belle de Boskoop

I have picked apples of the above five varieties for the affordable price of $4.50/pound, no volume discounts. The reason the higher price is due to the low yield on these particular varieties. I do sell trees so get growing!

BERRY BLISS 2nd weekend of July

 Saturday the 9th, come out for berry breakfast, Smorgasbord-style. Graze the farm berries, complement wild things, the sacred stillness. Dye your hands, de-ox your belly-vitality, glowing eyes result.

We have Blueberries, Raspberries, Jostaberries, Gooseberries and a few more prices vary for your take-home.

Lodi Apple is in so I will make Kuchen. -Raised dough pie slices for any that eat grain. Coffee/tea too. But mostly a calm morning with the birds

9AM to 1 PM    RSVP for eggs included. $10 over 18; $5 children; under 6 free!

The Ribes Tribe: Gooseberries, Currants and their crosses-e.g. Jostaberry: We have 18 native species that grow in the NW. To this end we have an equal number of associated pests. On the farm we typically stand to loose about 50 to 60% of the fruit to various numbers of these happy critters. One can avoid the damage by being isolated-in an area that does not have native species. Let me tell you, bugs will find you. It had taken 5 years when I lived in Insect/Plant “desert” of Capitol Hill, Seattle. They will seek out the scent of the flower. Plant pheromones? Not sure but here are a few of the trouble-makers: Sawfly-a wasp with a voracious appetite to consume all the leaves in 1 week. these will build up if you’re not on top of it. Cane Borer-a fly

Caroline Raspberry: Today, (May 14)  I pulled out 4 dozen ‘Caroline’ raspberry starts a foot high and immediately put them under the sprinkler. I potted these in the rain and they never had a chance to wilt. I put them in the shade with all the apple grafts and it looks like they’ll carry-on without much abbreviation. Caroline bears twice- June and Sept.- Oct. It bears 1 pound per 13 feet per day-and it’s best to pick every day to stay ahead of spotted winged drosophila (SWD) the fruit fly that lays hundreds of eggs in the fruit-especially in the calm interior of the bush. Picked firm and not dead-ripe you will have 30 to 40 pounds in the fall and 20-30 pounds in June, 60 pounds on 13 feet per year! Plants are planted 2 feet apart on a mound or very well drained soil

Winter propagation runs from November through February. Hardwood cuttings are set and beginning to callus with bottom heat. One of our favorite plants is Camellia sinensis or common “Tea”. It is evergreen and grows like a camellia to about 6 feet. It thrives in shade or full sun but prefers not too hot. Grow a Tea plant with moderate water and moderate acid fertility. It makes a nice clean green for a front-row spot, foundation.

Another gem of a plant is Serviceberry. I have grown 25 cultivars of Amelanchier, several that are native here and the word is they are easy, fast, colorful, drought tolerant, four-season interest, wildlife attracting, excellent as a fresh, sweet berry, dried, jammed or frozen for blending. It grows around the world and not surprisingly has dozens of common names. A few are: Sarvisberry, Shadbush, Shadblow, Saskatoon and Juneberry.

Dry serviceberries at skipley farm

Dried Serviceberries

The name “shadbush” does not have a Native American etymology (it is a compound word combining the English words “shad” and “bush”)  from it’s bloom cooinciding with the Shad fish running up river to spawn; however, the plant’s alternate Canadian name, “saskatoon,” comes from the Cree name misâskwatômin (pronounced similar to mih-sask-wa-toom-in,) which refers to the berry.

Saskatoon berries play an important role in Native American culture as one of the main ingredients of pemmican, a kind of high-protein trail food used by many tribes while traveling. Blackfoot people made a sacred soup from saskatoon berries to be shared at special events. The serviceberry is also considered one of the sacred Life Medicines of the Navajo tribe. Shadbush roots and bark were sometimes used as medicinal herbs in a number of tribes, and among the Iroquois and Lenape, shadbush blossoms were seen as the sign that the right time had come to plant corn. To the Achumawi tribe of northern California, shadbushes played a more important mythological role, with humans being created from serviceberry wood and shavings.

Silver Fox and Coyote , a story of the Serviceberry People

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