I first came to North Star Orchard on my dad’s birthday (in 2012), when we planted the Bloody Ploughman apple tree in his honor. That visit lead to many questions -- what the heck is a Bloody Ploughman apple? Why does this farm not have any Red Delicious apples? Now I finally got the chance to work on this farm as an intern for my school’s senior independent project. What I’ve experienced is beyond anything I originally imagined. I realized after the first day that my preconceptions about farmers were much more dull than what a farmer actually is. I thought that farm work was easy and not complex. I thought all farmers do is plant some things here and some things there, and then eventually harvest them…boy was I wrong.
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!)