A bit of a prosaic start for an A-Z challenge, but it can’t be helped for apples really are important to me. I own an orchard in upstate New York and the care and feeding of apple trees (we have other fruit too…more on them later in the month as their initial letters come up) has pretty much become the focus of my life.
The fact that I own an orchard and have to, pretty darn quickly, make myself knowledgeable about how to run one is an odd thing. One minute you’re a professional auditor in a big Manhattan accounting firm (not one of the super big ones but big enough), married to one of the firm’s lawyers, and wondering how on earth you’re going to cope with a life that seems increasingly stressful and yet boring at the same time. The next minute, you’re the ex-wife, the one who has been left behind for a woman who, and this is the galling bit, is only slightly younger, and not even particularly good-looking. All right, I promise this is not going to be about my divorce. But when the settlement finally came through, I took the money, and did not go back to the UK (I’m from there originally) but bought an old farm, with a seriously neglected orchard. This with no experience of agriculture or tree husbandry or whatever. This, with no experience of living in a rural setting—I grew up in Reigate in Surrey and while surrounded by farms and sheep I was still half an hour away from London and my family’s life was pretty much London-centered. Even after I traded London for New York, vacations were spent in other big cities or at beach resorts which were gated, guarded and all inclusive.
Blame this move on Washington Irving. Always one of my favorite authors and it is he who created this vision I have of upstate New York as a beautiful, magical (an appealing but creepy magical) place. I took a driving holiday; saw the farm for sale. Liked the trees, liked the front porch on the farmhouse; knew exactly what sort of curtains I would hang in the kitchen and here we are.
I say “we” but it is just me. At times I feel like Jack who sold the cow for magic beans and I feel stupid but then I remind myself that the only person who would really complain to me about my stupidity is my ex-husband and I don’t have to listen to him anymore! Besides, it all worked out well for Jack.
Anyway, I’m busy identifying the trees. Most of them are apples, plenty of McIntosh and Jonathan. My goal is to introduce more varieties…heritage varieties, unusual apples that you can’t get in the supermarket. But ones that have interesting stories. I think the time is ripe (ha!) for raising and selling different kinds of apple varieties. I think people are finally tired of the boring apples like Pink Lady and Golden Delicious (and I’m sorry if I’m insulting your favorites) and are ready for some …I don’t know…astringent russets for example.
Enough for today…see you tomorrow with the letter ‘B’!