We planted our stone fruit orchard nearly 5 years ago. And while there have been a few successes, this is the first year we can say the trees are “heavy” with fruit. The peaches and nectarines are in process, but the Bing cherries are truly on the cusp. We eat them daily, but the big harvest will come later this week. The limbs on the Bing cherry tree are bending under the weight of the fruit. Amazingly, this same tree yielded just a few tiny, tepid berries last year but will give us baskets of cherries this year. A small reminder that patience and effort are sometimes rewarded.
And sometimes there are pleasant surprises. The hybrid Van and Black Tartarian cherry tree was mostly planted to pollinate the Bing. But, as we noted last week, this tree is also bearing fruit. The Vans are tasty and the Tartarians are just coming in. We look forward to tasting all three of the cherries just off the tree.
On a more sober note, we took the plunge and netted the trees in the orchard. We needed help to do this, but as most of the trees have real fruit, now is the time. The orchard is less picturesque, but is hopefully protected from some of the nighttime raids of earlier years. We’ve written about our more…ummm, “active” protection of the garden and orchard from varmints, so let’s hope the passive systems work as well.
Otherwise, the apple and pear trees outside of the orchard are looking great. The blossoms of spring are now the small fruits of the tree. These are older trees that bear fruit every year. We deal with leaf curl and the occasional pest, but we rarely worry about these trees. They are in their prime. Our younger Macintosh apple is also looking good and we expect a decent crop this year.
Finally, there is one stone fruit tree that remains un-netted, our new Suncrest peach. The Suncrest is one of the best-tasting varieties of peach we have ever eaten. The Suncrest is a freestone peach with a gorgeous blush color and bright orange flesh. The flavor is intense with sweet, tart and tangy flavors. They are sooo good, but just as hard to find. Suncrests bruise easily and are difficult to transport. Only a few commercial farmers even sell them in California (happily, one is at our farmers market). We decided to grow our own Suncrests, but it took over a year just to find a tree. We finally found the tree and planted it last year. This year we are rewarded with one, single, Suncrest peach. And the branch is indeed heavy with that one peach. Rather than being disappointed, we view this is a positive sign of things to come.