Meet teosinte. You might be surprised to learn that the rather unappetizing morsel pictured to the right would give rise to a much more recognisable staple. Genus Zea, a group of plants in the grass family, encompases all modern domestic corn varieties and their wild cousins, the teosintes. Corn’s sudden appearance in the archeological timeline was a mystery to scientists, until they looked closely at the DNA. A mere five genes separate corn from its ancestral precursor, and both plants have the same number of chromosomes. The two can even produce fertile hybrids! How did wild teosinte become the corn we know today?
Don’t let anyone ever tell you farming isn’t a year-round job. It most definitely is. Even when it isn’t harvest season, there are still planning sessions and a slew of tasks vital to making the rest of the year run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This is especially true at North Star Orchard!
Welcome to "Warm Winter #2" (the implied #1 herein referred to being last winter, 2016).
Here at NSO, we're starting to get a bunch of questions about tree health due to the weather being so warm. So, here goes some info - dive in as little or as much as you'd like to! (Note: a post-snow update is at the bottom of this post!)
You know that stuff you drink in fall that's made of apples? What IS that stuff? Cider? Juice? What's the difference? Ah, welcome, my friend, to the wonderful and wacky world of history, the English language, and modern technology.
Every school child learns the romanticized story of Johnny Appleseed. Every adult (should) know the real story of Johnny Appleseed. That all those seeds he planted were for pressing cider, not eating fresh out-of-hand, and of course, that cider was the hard, alcoholic stuff.
So, back in the day, "cider" meant an alcoholic beverage (there's your truncated history). And in many countries of the world today (here's where the English language comes in), "cider"still means an alcoholic beverage. Which is why we get some mighty interesting questions from time to time from foreigners when they visit our stand and purchase our cider.
What does November mean to you? Thanksgiving celebrations...the clocks changing...digging out the sweaters and packing away the shorts...cozy evenings with warm drinks and fun movies?
November means all of that to us and more. Here on the farm, November means Gold Rush apple month - that golden time of year we all wait for to harvest and enjoy those awesome apples, make varietal cider, and start cleaning up the farm to ‘put it to bed’ for the winter.
For some of our local community, November also marks the memorable loss of two teens who suddenly and silently lost their lives a couple years ago to odorless carbon monoxide gas.