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After Irene: Vermont\’s Apple Trees

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

In the long litany of disasters that fills our eyes and ears these days–houses washed away, roads caved in, seven covered bridges destroyed–that other Vermont icon, the apple tree, is mostly doing fine.  Sure, some old and sick ones, some very young ones, have perished.  But on the whole, Vermont\’s apple orchards and the upcoming apple harvest have survived Irene.

My own micro orchard of two tiny trees, Liberty and Freedom, is prospering.  They are loaded with big, healthy-looking apples, and throughout the storm I kept checking on them.  I was ready to see those apples of my eye roll to the ground like balls in a bowling alley.  But the trees stood firm, and every single apple clung staunchly to its branch.

I love Vermont\’s apple trees:  wild unkempt ones that shower their sour fruit onto the roads;  a single ancient one respectfully preserved in a manicured lawn;  old orchards guarding genetic treasures behind crumbling stone walls;  new orchards laid out in trim military ranks.  And I love the festival of apple harvest with its cornucopia of cider, cider donuts, apple pies, apple sauce, apple fritters.  In Vermont there is an apple for every taste:  red, green, yellow, sweet, tart, crunchy, mealy, good for baking, good for pies, good for cider, good for you.  I had no idea that such a tiny state could grow such variety of apples.

I had no idea that such a tiny state could harbor so much destruction, so much sorrow.  But I look at the apple trees and I know that the coming harvest will provide the first opportunity for joyful gatherings around the state.  An apple, after all, is a happy thing.  A tree loaded with reddening globes is a sight to gladden even the weariest of hearts.  I\’m glad that 2011 is turning out to be a good year for apples.  Heaven knows we need them.   

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