Annual Fruit Tasting

October 23, 2006

Strasburg PA isn’t known as a fruit growing hotbed, but over the weekend it was the perfect place for fruit aficionados.

The Pennsylvania Backyard Fruit Growers held their annual fruit tasting at the White Oak Nursery just outside of Lancaster PA.

Fruit to Satisfy Every Taste Bud

Photo of Antique ApplesThe fruit tasting event provides the group’s members with an opportunity to share, sample, and compare over 100 different varieties of heirloom apples. In addition to the antique apples there were also pears, hardy kiwis, paw paws, grapes, persimmons and assorted berries available to enjoy.

For those who had their fill of fruit there were home grown nuts, unusual breads such as one made with paw paws, home made cheeses, and a number of unique jams and other special treats featuring products from the farm and garden.

I estimated about eighty people in attendance including one couple that drove all the way from Massachusetts to take part in the fruit fest. There were home gardeners, amateur fruit growers, and experienced orchardists, all gathered to discover the best tasting apples from days gone by.

Rare Heirloom and Antique Apples

Photo of Fruit Waiting to be SampledThe tasting process is simple, members of the PA Backyard Fruit Growers bring along paper plates, a knife, and samples of the fruits that were raised in their orchards, farms, or home gardens. The plates are labeled with the name of the variety and the crowd circulates, to sample, compare, and discuss the delicious fruits.

Apples dominated the fruit tasting event and I had never seen so many different apple varieties gathered together in one place, let alone had the opportunity to try out so many different apples!

There were many varieties such as Wolf River, Esopus Spitzenburg, Ashmead’s Kernel, and others with reputations that I had heard about but never tasted because you’ll seldom discover these rare antique apples for sale at your local grocer.

PA Backyard Fruit Growers Organization

Beyond tasting great fruit, this is the group to hang out with if you’re interested in learning how to grow your own fruits in the home garden. The members of the Backyard Fruit Growers Organization have a wealth of knowledge and experience growing all types of fruits, berries, and nuts.

Giant Pear PhotoThe group is committed to sharing all of that fruit growing knowledge and to encouraging others to experience the satisfaction of growing their own delicious home grown fruits and berries. If you’re anywhere close to Lancaster and interested in growing fruit, consider joining this group of dedicated fruit enthusiasts.

The PA Backyard Fruit Growers sponsor meetings and events throughout the year. Activities include fruit tree grafting classes, lectures on fruit growing techniques, and tours of member’s fruit gardens and orchards.

Later this week I’ll post my impressions of the heirloom apples that I sampled at this years fruit tasting and also post photos of some of the most unusual, attractive, and even some of the ugliest (but oh so delicious!) antique apples that you’ll ever see.

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