Greetings all! As the summer season begins to ripen and the air of Autumn is creeping into some of our cooler nights, I am once again imagining the joy we will all be feeling together this Fall, when the apples begin to fall from the trees.
Before getting sidetracked into the content you’ll see coming up, I have a very important announcement to make!
4th ANNUAL WILD & SEEDLING POMOLOGICAL EXHIBITION
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd, 2023 at the WILLIAMSBURG GRANGE HALL – 10 MAIN ST. WILLIAMSBURG, MA 01096
The Exhibition is back!
It is an important year for fruit explorers and foragers to be out in the wild doing the good work. As we are all aware, the devastating Spring frost has made it an incredibly tumultuous year for apple growers and trees all over the place. It’s very very important for everyone to see what varieties of fruit will be glowing up this time around, offering hints about frost-tolerance, climate resiliency, and disease hardiness.
This a free, public event that is open to all who are interested. On Friday, Nov. 3rd, we will be displaying and facilitating a tasting of 120+ varieties of wild seedling apples and pears gathered by fine humans from all over the continent (yes!) It will be a gallery of the most current and cutting edge, wacky and weird, timeless and stunning, visually alluring, climate-appropriate and DELICIOUS fruit you could imagine. This event relies on submissions from dedicated fruit explorers to help show just how amazing Malus and Pyrus are. If you have seedling apples or pears you would like to contribute, read below for information on how to submit!
HOW TO SUBMIT FRUIT TO THE EXHIBITION
Send a message to me using the CONTACT form on this website, or send an email to MATT.S.KAMINSKY@GMAIL.COM with the following info:
- Your name + the name of a farm, cidery, or organization that you would like to be associated with, and the town and state that you come from. If you don’t have any entity you’d like to associate with, that’s OK too!
- The name(s) of ALL apples and pears you plan to submit (even a provisional name will do, e.g., “Sarah’s Big Green” or “Stonewall Sweet”). Call it exactly what you refer to the apple or pear as. The maximum is 6 different varieties per entrant. Each entry MUST have a name.
- A brief description of each apple or pear. Include information about the physical attributes of the apple, flavor, what it’s used for, the town and state that the mother tree is from, if it’s been grafted and grown ex-situ (in any instance other than the original tree), and any other tidbits that you think are interesting or important, like what kind of environment the tree is growing in. They will be evaluated using a pomological rubric to register all the esoteric information about the physical characteristics, so don’t get too hung up on that stuff. What I need from YOU is the background of the apple. All the info you can give that someone wouldn’t know by seeing and tasting it.
– Plan to set aside enough exemplar fruit! We need a minimum of 6 apples or pears of each variety, but having 10 or 12 of each variety is much better, since we hope to have many attendants viewing and tasting small samples of each, while also having enough to photograph each one (perhaps the “nicest,” whatever that means) and document its characteristics across a modest sample size.
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE ! This exhibition needs YOU in order to be great !
If you plan to attend the event on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3RD, then submissions need to be in hand by 9AM on that day. If you can’t be there in time, or do not plan to come to the event but still want to have your favorite wildies recognized, please mail / ship your apples or pears through the mail to Gnarly Pippins HQ the week before the event. When you send your email to me with the above listed information, I will reply to you with the shipping address!
Please note that ‘repeat’ varieties that were sent in for previous Pomological Exhibitions are very much welcomed to be featured in the exhibition and tasting event itself, but will not be included in the forthcoming print publication.
TIPS FOR SHIPPING APPLES AND PEARS THROUGH THE MAIL
It is possible to ship fruit safely! That is the best way to go! Here are a few very basic tips if you don’t know where to start:
- Find a container that your exemplar fruits will fit in. If it is a rigid container, make sure that any empty spaces are filled with padding to prevent bruising (bubble wrap, crumpled brown paper, packing peanuts or some other type of packing material).
- Apple seasonality is very variable, so send your varieties through the mail shortly after harvest. Early season varieties with poor storage quality should be sent quite soon after harvest, while later season varieties which keep better may be sent the week prior to the event. Be This is a suggestion, not a requirement! We want the fruit to be as close in condition to how you’d normally be using it, right?
- Plan to ship early in the week (Mondays & Tuesdays are ideal) so the apples don’t get stuck in a postal warehouse over the weekend. Monday October 30th, 2023 would be the best day to ship! All accessions of fruit will be refrigerated upon arrival until the event.
- Ship fast to minimize transit time! It can be expensive to send things like this through the mail in a hurry. However, the US Postal Service is often the cheapest and most reliable if you can work on their schedule. Priority mail from USPS is a great go-to. Their boxes will fit your apples with ease, and 1-3 business days is well within the desired time window. Aim for 2 days transit time, 3 is OK too.
If you have apples that you want to contribute, but fear that they will not store well until the date of the event in November, don’t worry! Those Summer and early fall ripening varieties can work too! The way to handle those is to send all the information specific above, and sending two parcels through the mail. One to Gnarly Pippins HQ, and one directly to William Mullan. This way, They can be assessed and profiled upon receipt both pomologically and photographically, at peak ripeness, before any post-harvest biology sets in…
To all of those who have been to the Exhibition the past few years, you’re probably noticing that the venue has changed. Our original venue had a scheduling conflict, which was a great disappointment (they booked a wedding the same day, oy!) Luckily, our region is home to many beautiful grange halls, so a quick pivot to another very similar building was possible. It is possibly even better situated than the former location, and with the cooperation of an active Western MA granger organization involved in history and agriculture. I couldn’t be happier!
The official event flyer is also posted on the Gnarly Pippins Instagram page, and paper copies will be distributed regionally.
VOL. 3 PROGRESS
I have been consistently dedicating time over the past 8 months to writing and putting the final touches on the manuscript for Pomological Series Vol. 3, my collaborative work with my friend, the immensely talented William Mullan. This book is coming along smashingly and will be getting off to print before the forthcoming 4th Pomological Exhibition. Below is a sample spread that got worked out in advance of last month’s premier NY Apple Camp, the latest installment in the series of gatherings of premier apple growers, cidermakers, pomologists and apple enthusiasts.
The loveliness of NY apple camp got my wheels turning, and I finally broke through the crushing wall of writer’s block I’d been experiencing since finishing 5-6 months of continuous data entry, and extremely analytical qualitative writing, in recording the pomological profiles of the 60+ varieties that are being featured in Vol. 3. I was finally able to convert some thoughts that had been running cycles through my mine for months regarding centralization and decentralization of agriculture and tree culture, and how that intersects with the collective work being done around seedling apples.
The central questions are: What if we dispense with the idea of centralization of the orchard? What does a decentralized orchard resemble? Are we inside its borders all the time? How does it operate? This abstraction should serve us to open ourselves to the sublime possibility that we all live in a big, diverse, decentralized orchard that operates with a few simple rules: all of its abundance is to be held in public trust, fruit trees in the orchard are not to be cut down, and all life is welcome in the orchard.
I have been re-working my own understanding of the world. I like to download myself into this paradigm from time to time. We have things wrong when we try to manipulate the world around us – to exclude all parts of the orchard that don’t expressly make fruit. We have to accept it all. It is all the orchard.
I had toyed with the idea of posting my draft on this blog post. At risk of making this an unwieldy amount of information for a single blog post, I think I’ll choose to develop the essay a bit more, and hold off on broadcasting it. It will also inform a huge part of the Introduction section of Vol. 3, and I want to make sure those thoughts feel complete before I send them out to the world. Instead, look at this photo.
And finally, here is a gallery showing ex-situ grafted trees of 3 wild apples from my catalog that have never fruited apart from the mother trees before. I am jumping out of my skin with excitement, so eager to bring these fruits to the Exhibition this year to share with you all. Look forward to tasting these and many more if you can make it to the event in person.