We got a new harrow for our fields this week! Our old harrow lasted just long enough to get summer cover crops into the ground, but then gave up. Our new one took a little longer than we thought to get here, and now it is time to turn under the summer covers and put in the winter cover crops. We call this putting our fields to bed for the winter and now is the prime time for getting those winter covers in, but just because our fields are settling down for end of season doesn’t mean that we are. We are gearing up our high tunnel for winter share and spring produce, moving animals around to keep them warm and dry, prepping for winter share harvests, and getting out in our community to events like Heritage Day, Fay School Farmer’s Market and more to promo our value-added products (beets, pickles and puree) and our various CSA options–Winter CSA shares!!! Summer 2020 shares and MEAT CSA!
Believe it or not, our Summer season CSA planning starts right now! We are buying garlic (yep, going to try again!) and need to get it into the field and have seeded some crops to overwinter in hopes of harvesting them in April/May. We will have some pop-up farmer’s markets throughout the winter too- look for announcements on Facebook or emails directly from us.
Some of you may have noticed that there is a scrabbly little tree in the center of an island with a birdbath in the orchard? I’ve been holding my breath for five season waiting for this mostly dead tree to bear some kind of fruit. This tree is all that remains of the Liscomb apple variety. It was a variety developed here at Chestnut Hill Farm and there used to be 200 trees or so in the orchard behind the old stable that is now Whitney Beals home on the east side of Chestnut Hill Rd. My tenseness about this Southborough variety is that I didn’t actually know if the living tissue of the tree was sprouting from the old Liscomb tree or from the rootstock it was grafted to.
Apples are not grown from seed but from taking a cutting from an existing tree and ‘grafting’ it onto another, usually hardier and size dependent, rootstock tree. The top of the rootstock tree is cut away and replaced with the variety you want. Once healed, the tree grows with the disease resistance and size of the root base but bears the fruit of the tree variety you wanted. The Liscomb was grafted to a Mac base….so I was waiting all season to see what kind of apple we would get. A Mac apple means that the Liscomb did not survive the fall, but any other apple would be the Licomb. Well, last week….I got a Liscomb apple. This is a gorgeous apple. Greenish skin ripening to a deep orange red with yellow and dark red striping. It is super fragrant, a little mealy (I think I waited too long to harvest it), but the flavor is divine. A little spicy, nutmegy with a clean apple flavor and tender skin. It is a pleasure to bite into. Now I can begin the process of saving this apple and can take precious scion wood from its branches and graft them onto new rootstock.