P81020+++++I really believed that I had something special here. A few fruit trees that are either remnants or descendants of remnants of fruit trees of the old Zayante Rancho have survived on a vacant parcel east of town.
There are two pear trees, a prune tree and an apple tree. The pear and prune trees are too overgrown to make much fruit. Almost all of the fruit that they manage to produce is too high to reach, and of inferior quality. They could be renovated, but the process would require severe winter pruning for several years.
However, the apple tree is still somewhat compact and quite productive. Much of the fruit is within reach for the ground. Much of the rest can be shaken from the tree without damaging it too much. Although abandoned for decades, someone actually put the effort into pruning the apple tree a few years ago. It still needs some major pruning, but would be easier to renovate and restore than the other trees.
I can not identify the cultivar of the apple, or even the type. The fruit looked and tasted like some sort of Pippin apple earlier in the season, but is now slightly more blushed than other familiar Pippin apples in the region. It could of course be another cultivar of Pippin. It is not very juicy, but is quite richly flavored. Winter pruning to concentrate resources would probably improve the quality of the fruit.
Until recently, anyone who wanted to forage for a bit of fruit from these few fruit trees had open access to them. Both prunes and pears needed to be knocked out of their trees, and collected from the ground. Timing was critical for the prunes. They would be unripe if a few days early, or squishy and on the ground if a few days late. Apples were the most popular because they were more abundant and easiest to collect from the tree.
Unfortunately, the vacant parcel needed to be fenced. Only those who are involved with maintenance of the parcel have access to the trees now.
Well, I happen to occasionally work for one of those privileged few, which indirectly gives me access to the distinguished trees.
Of course, I could not resist bragging to my Pa about my privileged access to these now private heritage trees, especially the apple tree. As I said earlier, I really believed that I had something special here.
To my surprise, and perhaps disappointment, my Pa is very familiar with my special apple tree! I had nothing to brag about that he could not also claim! He actually picked apples from it with his mother when he was a little tyke living on Ashley Street in town!


13 thoughts on “My Private Heritage Tree

    1. For Pippins, they are actually pretty good. I am none too keen on Pippins, but they happen to be useful. They last longer off the tree than the ‘Gravestein’ apples. They make excellent apple sauce and apple juice. They are also good for pectin extract. Only quince and crabapple have more pectin. My grandmother made jelly with them, probably because they happened to be there. I think they would be bland for that; but I will find out.

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      1. Yes, it is a main cultivar in some regions of Washington. Fuji is popular here, and happens to be a descendant of Red Delicious. It is not my favorite though because it is somewhat variable.

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      2. Fuji is what those who like red delicious grow here. They do not seem to be very similar to me. I do not like them so much only because there are other better cultivars that do just as well in our mild climate. Even Gravestein does well here. (It does even better up in the mountains above.)

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    1. Yes, that was one of the main attributes that I liked about it before it was fenced. Homeless people could get fruit from it for quite a long season. We all sort of thought of it as our secret tree, even though everyone in town knew about it.

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  1. Reblogged this on Felton League and commented:

    After arriving slightly late in the game to collect apples last year, I stopped by this famously secret (or secretly famous) apple tree about three weeks earlier this year. I expected to find the fruit just about ready for harvest. I still can not believe that I instead found that it is just as ripe as it was when I came by last year, and already falling on the ground!
    This is the old abandoned apple tree near Conference Drive and Graham Hill Road, that so many who had been homeless over the years were able to get a few apples from while they were in season. It is fenced and inaccessible now; but there is less demand for the apples anyway.
    There are not as many homeless people here as there used to be. There are certainly plenty of apples to go around.
    Most of the remaining good apples from this tree will be harvested and shared among some of those who work or live in the neighborhood. This year, only a few, if any, might be brought to Felton Covered Bridge Park for those there who want them. (There is no point in adding to the surplus.) If there are enough leftover, some might be canned as applesauce.
    This old article is reblogged from another blog, on October 21 of last year.


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