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.
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.
Andy Moskowitz does ecological garden design and fine horticulture in Santa Cruz, California, is director of the Santa Cruz Community Orchard, and has served as Chairman (2019, 2020) and other roles for MBCRFG.