Just before I left for Coshocton in May, I’d picked up some more plants at the annual Master Gardener’s Plant Sale. Check out this photo of John and I. I love to get there just before the opening bell and join the mob on the hunt for plants. The best plant is one you were able to grab before someone else did–don’t you know? I managed to get my plants in the ground during the week between my Coshocton and Northern Michigan trips.
Also during that week I realized that the June apples on our tree were ripe, so I went out with my apple picker and collected what I could. I hadn’t realized how loaded the tree was last year until I saw how few apples were on the tree this year. I had enough to fill my kitchen sink and make a decent batch of applesauce. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what this year’s apples lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. Last year’s applesauce tastes so watery in comparison to this year’s. I guess I’m tasting last year’s spring deluge versus this year’s drought.
I’ve been concerned about finding new June apple sources, especially since this spring when John and I contacted tree trimmers to trim the apple trees and magnolia away from our house. The trees have gotten so huge that there’s just no way we could do it ourselves.
I figured the result would be no more applesauce apples and I was worried. I saw a local orchard had lodi apples ready, so I picked up a few so I could compare them to the apples in my yard. Here’s the comparison:
- Pros: Clearly better flavor. Needs less sugar for the sauce to taste good.
- Cons: Costs $4.50 for a little box. Ouch!
Yard Apples (probably Yellow Transparent)
- Pros: Free! Picking them helps you meet your neighbors. They’re also known as Grand Sultan…oooh, fancy.
- Cons: Inferior flavor. Too high up to pick.
At the same time that the apples were ready, so were the cherries. I picked a whole bunch at Farview Orchard near Wadesville. Last year when I went they hardly had any sweet cherries, but this year there were tree-fulls of yellow ones. I wish I’d taken my camera to capture the way they glowed on the trees.
Last week saw an explosion of new fruits ripening. There are blackberries ready in my garden and at Patchwork. I’ve already frozen a bunch and made a cobbler. Maybe there will be more than enough this year, or maybe I’ll have to trek back to Farview Orchard for the epic blackberries I found last year.
I’ve also been picking my favorite–blueberries. Saturday I was back at Wright’s Berry Farm in Newburgh and picked for a solid three hours. Hopefully that supply will last me for a year. It’s fun to be buried deep in the blueberry bush and hear all the random chatter of unseen families a row or two away.
In addition, the summer squash and zucchini in my container garden have started to produce. I also harvested my cilantro and my garlic after first chopping the scapes off the top. I’ve also traded my peas for beans and lettuce for basil.
Between this and trips to the farmers’ market, John and I are getting plenty of good, fresh food. The squash has been thinly sliced and dressed with a vinaigrette to make a nice salad and has been sauteed and added to some pesto I froze last fall. The garlic scapes joined the lettuce in one of my favorite spring soups and were ground with the cilantro into a pesto. The garlic is drying quietly in bundles around the house.
Oh, and just before we left for Michigan we trapped our 8th raccoon–or maybe it was just Number 7 trapped a second time. The two seemed to share a couple weird quirks. After the first couple raccoons in our traps, we started calling Animal Control whenever we had a new one in the trap. I secretly hoped that Animal Control was euthanizing them to control overpopulation, but we finally asked and found out Animal Control just releases them “somewhere by the river.” Well, that’s not too far away from where we live. Hopefully the Animal Control guy drove Number 8 a little further away this time.