Tell us about your growing philosophy
We have used compost and mulch for growing avocados in LA and citrus in AZ to tomatoes and berries in IN and OH. We began as children growing plants on family farms. Now we produce fruit, berries and vegetables to sell at co-ops, farm markets or to donate to food banks. Of course, we have our freezers full and enjoy the fruits of our labor year-around. Knowledge derived from 65 years of experience guides our growing philosophy.
Tell us about your place on Earth.
Our three acres have some wild fruits such as apple and sweet and sour cherries, raspberries, blackberries and elderberries. I have about 20 producing fruit trees, including apples, peaches, cherries and plum. I have started about 50 nut trees like walnut, hickory and buckeye. Here in Zone 5 we often have years like last year when we have lost almost all production due to frost. Our best income crops for us has been strawberries and elderberries with vegetables a distant third. We have stopped giving away those and will now grow vegetables only for ourselves and family.
What draws you to growing fruit?
In the 1950s I was taught to weed, pick, compost and mulch our family garden. Born on a large farm, my mother was taught to scrape,never peel, potatoes, and never leave any liquid behind in an egg shell. On our parents' and grandparents' farms, growing your own fruits and vegetables was part of life and everybody did it.
innovation most rocks your boat?
Yes - A couple suggestions. 1. Let's include a little "green thinking" in using resources like wind, water and solar. This is a sure thing; you will pay more for most utility services in the future. 2. Let's add a little diversity to the orchard for the pollinators and wildlife.
What might you change if you could do one thing over again in your orchard?
I would not repeat my first spray efforts that did not help with any aspect of growing fruit.
How do you go about marketing the good fruit?
In the past we have sold at two local food co-ops called "Roots" in Wooster and Ashland. There are two local farmer's markets where we have sold vegetables, fruit, berries and some other things like flowers, gourds, etc.