I helped set up where I could, listened to the fruit seller orientation, and took my place in the avocado and dragon fruit section. By 8:59 am the line stretched from one end of the parking lot to the other, full of people with lists of fruit tree varieties in hand. It felt like being at a Black Friday sale. The gates opened, and a whirlwind of people swarmed into the staging area. Trees were snatched up left and right, often before I could mark them on people’s invoices. By 10:30 am, almost everything was sold out. Once the avocados were gone I moved over to help answer questions by the few remaining citrus trees. By 11:00 am the only trees that remained were the dragon fruit, the Buddha’s hand citrons, and the Kaffir limes, all of which are frost-sensitive, and not worth growing in my opinion. It may have been chaotic, but I did get to meet many wonderful people who share my vision of growing delicious fruit at home, and share what little I know. I had a really good time, and will try to volunteer again next year.
I was lucky enough to make it home with three southern highbush blueberries (Emerald, Windsor, and Palmetto), three kumquat trees (one Meiwa and two Changshou), and a Carnavale apple tree. The blueberries will be incorporated into a blueberry expansion project I’ve been working on, and the kumquat trees will help supply my youngest son’s insatiable appetite for them. The Carnavale is a new variety of apple recently released by Treesearch Farms, which I believe comes to us from Brazil. When I first heard of this apple it was being called Brazillian, but I guess they thought Carnavale was a better trade name. It is reported to be a nice low-chill apple that can handle heat and humidity well, so I’m very excited about it. After all, if it can fruit well in Brazil, it should fruit well here too. I got to meet and spend a little bit of time chatting with Heidi Sheesley, the owner of Treesearch Farms. With any luck, I might be able to talk her into recording a podcast with me, and learning more about the origins of the Carnavale.