The Apple Geek
Growing high quality apples, selling directly to the customers and educating everyone who comes to our farm is the founding principle of County Line Orchard. We like to think that we can both entertain and educate children and adults alike whether the are here for an educational field trip or have come on the weekend for a day at the orchard. So brush up on your apple skills and come on down.
The Modern Apple
When Mark Chapman A.K.A Johnny Appleseed paddled his canoe across the new frontier of America he had a different approach to apple growing than we have today. Mr. Appleseed had collected 1000's of apple seeds leftover after being pressed into Apple Cider (better known as Applejack). It was these seeds each holding a completely different genetic make up no two alike, for instance if a seed from a Honey Crisp is planted and grown to a bearing age the resulting apple will not look or taste like a Honey Crisp at all. As a result of ten's of thousands of different varieties were produced. Now understand that most of these apples were not the dessert apples that we eat today. Most were "spitters" that were only suitable for cider production used by pioneers. However, with so much genetic diversity apples were able to cross breed with one another and eventually when just the right combination was made "dessert" quality apples started emerging strictly by chance, a bit like winning the lottery.
Once these desired varieties started producing fruiting growers used the ancient technique of grafting. Grafting involves taking the rooting portion of an apple or crabapple tree and splicing it with a branch from the desired apple tree. This baby tree is then planted and allowed to grow. The root or rootstock is what determines the tree's size and shape and the cutting used determines the fruit taste and appearance.
Orchards have evolved to use different rootstocks based on the needs of growers. This is why we have some very tall and wide trees that are planted far apart and some that will only grow to a maximum of 10' and are planted close together. At County Line Orchard we primarily have 3 different rootstocks EMLA 111, EMLA 26, and Bud 9.