We visited the State Fair this past weekend to see the farm animals, garden exhibits, and watch people ride those crazy rides. I'd love to ride some of the rides but I'm afraid of heights and would feel like a wimp riding the tamer rides with the 5-8 year olds. We also go there to eat evil but delicious carnival food. The cinammon roll with a frappacino was the best. The roll had a luscious cream cheese icing that was like cake frosting whipped with extra air.
Candied apples are very popular at the fair and I might even make them at home, but the lovely blossoms on our two little apple trees have unfortunately not resulted in any mouth-watering fruit for three years running.
Despite being pruned and hung with baits for moths and other pests they have remained unproductive.
They are ornamental, with beautiful bark
and sweetly fragrant pink-tinged flowers.
But we'd like some apples! So I think we're going to replace those two trees with heirloom varieties and get a pear tree as well. I found this article about a man in our state who has 300 heirloom varieties, and two nurseries that will ship. Appropriately enough, since I have two horses, I'm thinking of getting a variety called 'Horse' which was developed in North Carolina before 1800 and was the most commonly grown apple in our state. It has soft yellow fruit with a tart tang and the tree is healthy and produces large crops of apples that are good for cider and cooking. DH said his grandparents had an apple tree that they said was a Horse apple tree but it may have been a seedling, as its fruit was green, or perhaps another cultivar altogether such as 'Roxbury Russett'.
Another old apple tree that sounds intriguing is 'Sops of Wine', an 1832 apple with a taste similar to the famous 'Esopus Spitzenberg' (Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple), but much more disease resistant. The fruit is firm, sweet and acidic, my favorite kind of eating apple.
Apples are not the only food crop we've attempted to grow.
We've had success with broccoli and cabbage,
pole beans, lettuce and kale.
I've always thought the name 'Buttercrunch' sounded delicious, and the lettuce lives up to its name.
The Southern staples of okra (pictured here is the flower, which shows its relation to Hibiscus)
Crops like eggplant, peppers and Marabar Spinach love even the hottest weather. I have not actually tasted Marabar Spinach but it smells wonderful sauteed with onions and garlic.
But tomatoes? Not so much. :( We lovingly planted these tomatoes in our vegetable garden last spring
and practically got nada for our troubles.
So this spring we tried them in a new bed in the back yard, in front of the very young Baptisias, Narcissus, daylilies and Siberian Iris. We prepped the soil
and staked the tomatoes well. This didn't stop them from falling over from wilt, even the varieties that are supposed to be resistant. One Roma survived and we got about half a dozen of the most wonderful tomatoes ever, but that was it.
Next year I'm going to try some of the tomatoes in pots. I really really want homegrown Black Russian and Roma tomatoes and more than just half a dozen!
On a more positive note, there were plenty of strawberry runners to spread around this year. I have of course lost the cultivar names but they are everbearing varieties that produce a lot of berries in spring and some during summer and fall if the weather isn't too dry. They're so sweet and delicious they go down before getting their picture taken.
Happy Friday, and join Katerina at roses and stuff for more Blooming Fridays.