The following year, the trees did not blossom at all. We decided to move a couple of them against a fence, where we thought they'd get more sun. We carefully transplanted them, and once again we fortified the soil with all sorts of good stuff. There they sat for a few years. They didn't die, but they certainly didn't thrive. A few years later, we moved them again. I concocted chicken wire coverings to protect them over the winter from moose in this new location. I watered them faithfully and fertilized them with fish fertilizer and bone meal. They leafed out beautifully the following summer, but still didn't blossom. One day upon returning from town, we noticed the crowns were bit off and bedraggled. A moose had eaten them for his lunch salad, and he may as well have swallowed my hopes of my little orchard as well. At that point, those pitiful trees had been in our yard for nearly 13 years. Unless the new owner has removed them, they are still there today.
So despite my romantic dreams, this is my history with growing apples. I share this just to give you some background--fruit trees are a big deal to me, and I am amazed when anyone can get them to grow and thrive and produce. Which brings me to the subject at hand, which is, East Tennessee is amazing for growing apples.
On a lovely day this early fall, we took a drive up through the Smokies and into the countryside to a popular orchard. We passed three or four others on the way there.
Applesauce is a staple in this family, and after having canned our own, we're wrecked from buying Tree Top forever.
A couple more things to love about this lovely orchard in the South? It's a general produce market, full of wonderful melons, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.
And the prices...ohhhh the prices. $20 a bushel, Baby. A bushel is one of the giant baskets pictured below. That's a lot of apples for $20. After regularly paying $2.79 per pound in Alaska for the one to three different varieties of organic apples available, this is something to love.
They also have shelves and shelves full of preserves of all kinds, as well as our new friend here.
Very good, indeed. Good to the last drop, in fact.