Last week we had the chance to take a field trip to an experimental orchard here in Anchorage. The orchard has over two hundred different fruit trees, as well as a large green house for some apple and pear varieties that otherwise couldn't grow in Anchorage. The owner of the orchard was an avid gardener who decided to experiment with growing fruit in Alaska in his retirement about ten years ago, and since his death a couple years back the property has fallen into disrepair. A friend of ours from church has been volunteering her time to maintain and spruce the place up - which is how we learned of this tree treasure trove here in Anchorage (fruit orchards are not that common up here... !)
We checked the place out and we helped clear a bunch of deadwood from the orchard. All the kids were great helpers, Bentley in particular was a real trooper - he told me he could do that type of work all day every day. I guess that means a farm life is for him?! :)
I am amazed at how delicious all the different apple varieties we brought home are. We were told no two trees are the same! Most of the trees are crab apples with other fruits grafted onto them. We learned that when you cut an apple open, if the seeds are brown it means the apple is ripe. We also learned that without proper sunlight apples that are meant to be lovely reds and pinks will not color up and will remain green. We had a great time and hope to go back and help (and eat!) more next year!