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hogs facing the camera
yellow apples on a branch

Apples & Other Fruits

Orchard Establishment

Cindy and Jeff have their fruit trees and bushes distributed among various areas on the farm. These areas are described below and shown on the aerial photo. Appendix III (PDF, 158 kb) has more detailed maps of fruit tree and shrub locations.

aerial photo of Clover Valley Farms

  • The “Homestead Orchard” is located south of the hen coop. It contains heritage apple trees that were already growing on the farm in 1996, plus new apple, pear, and plum trees planted between 1999 and 2009. The site is adjacent to woods on the north but open on the other sides for full sun and good air circulation.

  • The “Backyard Orchard,” to the north of the house, contains heritage crab apple trees and a combination of native and cultivated varieties of plum and cherry trees planted between 2001 and 2008. This is a relatively low area, in which some species have done well and others have not.

  • From 2005 to 2007, Cindy and Jeff planted pear and apple trees in the “Old-New Orchard” located along Homestead Road. Many of the trees died due to inadequate drainage, and others were moved to the new Fenced Orchard in 2010. Two pears and an apple tree, individually fenced for protection against deer, remain in this area. Cindy and Jeff may use the area again in the future, by improving site preparation and drainage.

Farmer’s Perspective: Lessons Learned

Orchard Establishment

Cindy and Jeff lost some information on early fruit plantings by not noting which varieties were planted where, a situation they have rectified with improved record keeping and the use of tree tags. They have also learned important lessons about preparing sites for plantings, especially considering they have to deal with poorly drained soils on their site. So far they feel that the combination of grazing hogs through an orchard site in the year preceding a planting, plus their own tilling efforts and soil amendments, has produced good results and will help them revitalize other planting sites in the future.

young apple tree with apples

young grafted whip of a fruit tree

Farmer’s Perspective: On The Bookshelf

Fences for Pasture & Garden

By Gail Damerow

Published by Storey Publishing, this book is a guide to selecting, planning, and building fences intended to keep livestock in or wildlife predators out. It covers various types of fencing, provides illustrations, and addresses related topics such as alarm systems and zoning laws.

Spotlight on: Outreach

Orchard Establishment

Cindy has been working to restore abandoned trees with neighbors who have heritage orchards and at a historic seedling trial orchard at the old University of Minnesota - Duluth agricultural field station, part of the newly formed Sustainable Agriculture Project. It has been a great opportunity for her to learn the skills of orchard restoration and about heritage fruits in the region.

These projects dovetail with her personal interests and were instrumental in giving her the courage to try planting her own orchard using her own trees! She has begun offering a course to help others in the region to learn the skills she has found so valuable on the farm.

Cindy with students by apple tree

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