Plant Exchange 2019 and Birdsong Orchards Tour

This Sunday the Monterey Bay chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers gathered at Nadine Schaffer’s Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville for a tour of her upstart organic fruit orchard and flower farm, a tasty potluck, and our warm-season greenwood and plant exchange.

It’s inspiring to see what new farmers Nadine and Jason have established in just their first six years, with 5+ acres of organic mixed fruit orchards and cutting flowers–including many dozens of varieties of apples, pears, quinces, plums, peaches, apricots, figs, citrus, persimmons, berries, walnuts, and more.  And goats and llamas and dogs and cats and hens. 

Nadine graciously toured us through her orchard, telling us about what she’s learned from her establishing trees, and giving us samples to taste of the several varieties of plums, figs, and peaches, currently in season.

Nadine Schaeffer shows us Birdsong Orchard’s rows of walnuts and apricots
We sample Nadine’s now ripe Violette de Bordeaux figs.
Lllamas an kin recycle various garden waste into compost

We gathered back in the shade of her front garden to share a tasty potluck of homemade culinary treats from our members’ kitchens, a sample of current harvests from various gardens, and to exchange cuttings and rooted plants from our nurseries. I was surprised to count over three dozen fruiting and edible plant species at our exchange this year, representing at least 20 different botanical families: Amaryllidaceae, Annonaceae, Araceae, Asteraceae, Basellaceae, Cactaceae, Caricaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Moraceae, Musaceae, Myrtaceae, Poaceae, Passifloraceae, Proteaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, Solanaceae, Vitaceae.

Cherimoyas, figs, grapes, tunas, dragonfruits, and plenty more.
Eugenia spp., Solanum spp., sugarcane, bananas, and lots of other great edibles.

Passiflora ‘Purple Tiger’
A luncheon of homemade salads, bread, and cheese from our culinarily inclined membership

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