A Year of Plenty (of Perspective)

A Year of Plenty (of Perspective)

Something not discussed often enough when planning an orchard is how the orchard might serve you beyond the conventional mindset of exclusively yield per acre of marketable pounds of fruit. The apple harvest off the trees should be, in my opinion, just one of the value streams in an orchard. An orchard should bring into your life:
  • happiness
  • highly nutritious food
  • purpose
  • humbleness as each season teaches you new lessons
  • fresh perspectives on problems
  • a space to think and breathe and be grounded
  • a space to explore and observe the evolution of ecosystems
  • a source of heath and healing both for humans in food as medicine, and in the trees as a fertile closed loop system of agriculture
The orchard is more than just the trees and the fruit - though that is a big part of it. The understory plants, orchard floor, and alleyways all pose unique areas to maximize value streams as well as parts of the tree and fruit themselves that people don't commonly use. Some trees and berry bushes have very nutritious leaves; I've made bitters with cherry bark. Peach leaves (cooked) are both nutritious and medicinal. Dried and powdered apple skins; grape, sea buckthorn and raspberry leaves; dandelion root and leaf; the list goes on and on. Not to mention more uncommon plant uses like dying clothes, firewood, or wood chips. Nothing is more nutritious than the food grown in your own backyard or farm. 

If the apple crop is sub-par due to pests or disease, enjoy what you can, and seek your bounty another way - in a vibrant healthy orchard, there is still so much to enjoy. This is part of what makes a stable and sustainable system.

And we really need to embrace what we think of as food beyond what the grocery store limits it to! So many of the common weeds are not just edible, but actually lovely to eat and drink. Dandelion pesto, cleavers juice, 'weedy' greens in soups and salads, there are so many wonderful options out there with a little creativity!

So as the fall winds down and we are all reaping the bounty of another growing season, if you ever feel disappointed in your harvest, I implore you to dig a little deeper and explore some of these other value streams. There truly is so much abundance out there.
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