When we moved to Maine we bought a house with some acres. On those acres were many weeds, some hay, a strange array of perennial rejects and a handful of fruit trees. The sad collection of very old apple trees was hemmed in by an ugly makeshift fence. They appeared not to have been loved for many years. But they were ours, and Don was thrilled. He set about to slowly rehabilitate them. We tore down the fence, cleared out the underbrush and Don did some pruning. And then he did some more. The third year on the property I went to the Fedco Tree sale and bought some new apples, a couple pears and a pair of plums. I had really wanted to come home with some sour cherry trees. Back in NYC I had done a six-week stint pitting millions of pie cherries by hand for Karen DeMasco at Craft, and seeing all the delicious things she did with them inspired me to plant my own crop. I was to wait another year for my cherry trees, but we had serious fruit tree ambitions. Last year we had enough of an apple crop to warrant the making of applesauce and apple butter, as well as having apples to eat out of hand. We felt a distinct sense of accomplishment. We had fruit trees! My cherries had gone in the ground in the spring, forcing me to wait another year for fruit, but at least they were in. The orchard was taking shape.
So this year we had great expectations. Early spring brought a profusion of blossoms. We smiled to each other; this year we would have fruit! But Mother Nature has ways of teaching lessons. Mid-May, with the trees in full bloom, we had two nights of hard frost followed by a couple of unseasonably warm days. We lost all those lovely blossoms, and with them our dreams of fruit. I thought it couldn’t really be that bad; Don was resigned. Early summer when I went out to check, it was true, there was no fruit. Well, two measly little apples on one of the smaller trees, but nothing anywhere else. I have to wait another year for my cherries, there will be no apple butter, Don will have another year of pruning to shape the trees. We learn patience. The hard way.
The Rare Apple CSA is back!
Last year was the first time out for this fantastic idea. We are thrilled to announce its return, and once more we’re the pick-up location. Below you will find everything you might need to know. Those who participated last year have had their chance to sign up, now the shares are open to the public. If you are interested we suggest you sign-up ASAP for this highly popular CSA.
This fall, Out on a Limb Apple CSA will be offering unusual and historic dessert (fresh eating) and culinary (baking/cooking) apples in six pick-ups from early September to early November. You will receive about 20 -25 varieties over the course of the season. Details are below. Space is limited, so please sign up soon!
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Rare Apple CSA but Were Afraid to Ask:
How does the Out on a Limb Apple CSA work?
Every other Wednesday from September 1 to November 10, heirloom varieties and unusual modern apples harvested from several orchards in central Maine will be driven down to Rabelais Bookstore in Portland.
What kinds of apples will I be getting?
Over the course of the season, each share will receive 20 or more varieties of rare, interesting and highly flavored apples with a wide range of uses, appearances, histories and tastes. Each delivery includes a mix of dessert apples (apples meant to be eaten fresh) and culinary apples. We will make sure you have enough of the culinary varieties to cook something with them.
How many apples will I be getting?
You will get at least 1/4 bushel (approx. 10 lbs) of apples at each
pickup. Each variety will be in its own bag. You will need to bring along your own tote bag or box in which to put the various smaller bags. You may also purchase an Out on a Limb tote bag from us. The large organic cotton bags with the famous Out on a Limb logo are $15.00 each.
How will I learn about the varieties I receive?
With every apple pickup you will receive a newsletter with
descriptions, history, tidbits and lore about each variety, as well as recipes and ideas for how best to use them.
Are the apples organic?
Some varieties will be organically grown, others conventionally grown. We will let you know which is which.
What if I want more of some of the apples?
If you would like to have more of a particular apple, either for
preserving, winter storage, to put on your restaurant menu, or simply because you fell in love with it and can’t get enough, you will be able to order many of the varieties by the bushel, to be delivered at the next pickup.
How much does it cost?
The CSA will cost $120 for the season, (or $135 for your share and a tote bag.) Payment should be made upon sign-up. Checks should be made out to Out on a Limb CSA and mailed to 167 Turner Mill Pond Rd, Palermo ME 04354, or dropped off at Rabelais Bookstore at 86 Middle Street in Portland.
How do I pick up my order?
Pickup will be from 11:00am – 5:00pm every other Wednesday at
Rabelais. We anticipate that the first delivery will be September 1 and deliveries will run until November 10. If you cannot pickup on Wednesday, your share will be held at Rabelais until 5pm Thursday, then donated to a local restaurant. In August we will send you an email to confirm starting date.
How do I sign up?
Send your check to Out On a Limb Apple CSA, ASAP. Or drop a check off at Rabelais. Shares will be limited. Please include your name, snail mail address, phone # and email address with your check.
John Bunker and Cammy Watts
Out on a Limb CSA
167 Turner Mill Pond Rd
Palermo ME 04354
Not Far From the Tree
A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine 1804-2004.
by John Bunker.
Not Far From the Tree Have you seen this book by Maine pomological sage and Fedco Tree man John Bunker? John is the man who sets up that incredible table with an extensive grid of apple varieties every year at Common Ground fair.
Do you love apples? Do you have a tree, or two, or more, in your backyard? By using his own town of Palermo as example, John studies the huge diversity of apples available in New England. If you are interested, the book is available on our website for $22. Or come in and say hello, and buy it at the store, maybe when you pick up your first Apple CSA share….