Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sweet Sunshine Harvest

My first Apricots ~ A basket full of sunshine!

Isnt't that a beautiful basket full of sunny apricot lusciousness? I love it.

I planted my apricot tree 8 years ago in the winter of 2000. I carefully pruned it each year to help it have a good shape and be healthy. I watered it and protected it from all manner of critters that would like to eat it and destroy it. I gave it my love and my care. I had all but given up on it ever giving me back some delicious homegrown apricots. I had pretty much decided that I had a sterile apricot tree out there. Then, this year, (finally!) it surprised me with several fruits forming in early Spring. I was stunned and very pleased. I hoped that the fruit would have a chance to grow and ripen and that our late May rains this year didn't hurt it or knock it off the tree.

Jack and I covered the tree with bird netting to protect the ripening apricots from the bird predators. A few had peck holes in them anyway.

Healthy protected apricot tree ~ with apricots!

So yesterday I went down to my weed filled clearing back meadow where the tree grows and plucked every single apricot. All 22 of them! The first one went right into my mouth moments after being plucked. Still warm from the sun the tangy sweet flavors of nature exploded in my mouth. Juice ran down my chin. I was so excited and happy! I grew these. Nature really grew these, but I did help. A lot.

Last week, Bob's parents invited us over to pick the apricots from their very mature trees. This has become somewhat of a yearly tradition now. The 3 of us go climbing on ladders and wrestling a bit with the twiggy tree limbs, picking and shaking the fruit from the big old tree. There is usually several pounds of apricot bounty to reward our efforts. This year we harvested about 30 pounds of fruit from just one of their trees.

My share of the apricot harvest ~ 13 pounds!

They always give us several pounds of the fruit we pick as they cannot use it all themselves. I am thrilled to have the fresh homegrown fruit to eat fresh and to make jam and pies and fruit crisps with. One year I made apricot frozen yogurt. I may make some apricot ice cream this year. We talked Bob (our master pie maker) into using his share to make an apricot pie, (something he has not done before ~ a new challenge!), since he prefers to eat his fruit in baked goods rather than fresh from the tree. Me, I like it all.

So thank you, Mother Nature for my own personal homegrown apricot harvest. Thank you Bob's Mom & Dad for the huge amount of apricots from your tree. And thank you in advance Bob for the anticipated delicious apricot pie.

I am very grateful for my sweet sunshine harvest. Nature always impresses me with her beauty and her bounty.

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


Meg said...

Wow, those look amazing! After eight years of waiting, I'd say you deserve them.

Hardware Bob said...

A great photo Jen, Mother Earth does often reward us with some incredible bounty for our efforts in tending to her babies.

The apricot pie requested is ready for it's debut, with nearly 5 cups of quartered yummy juicy apricot morsels mounded between two layers of flakey buttery crust, then painted lovingly with a light egg wash and sprinkles of crunchy sugar.

The exquisite aroma of Pumpkin spice and brown sugar reminded me that Fall is actually just around the corner.

As instructed, I left the tart skins intact to receive the full essence of Mother Nature's offereing.

Time to enjoy, a quick warming in the microwave, and a large blog of natural vanilla ice cream. It just doesn't get better than that.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my! After reading Bob's comment I can only wish I was his best friend! Yummo. Congratulations on your patience ... eight years to get your first crop. Beautiful apricots!

I have to tell you a story of our Blood Orange tree we had for years and years in our potted dwarf "Citrus Grove" in southern California. Ken pruned the trees every year at the same time, and the lemon, grapefruit, and orange trees all produced beautiful fruit. But the Blood Orange produced nothing. One year, Ken missed a pruning, and THAT year we had Blood Oranges. Lesson learned: some trees produce their next year crop on the ENDS of the branches (which in our case got lopped off every year). Duh!

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Meg,
Thank you for the compliments and for visiting my blog. Yes, I've waited a long time. They taste amazing too!

Hi Bob,
Thanks for praising my photo. I liked that one too. Your apricot pie sounds delicious the way you describe it. When do I get a piece or two, or three? (a "blog" of ice cream? You crack me up!)

Hi CA Grammy,
They are beautiful/tasty and I guess I really am patient after all. Thank you for sharing your citrus pruning experience. That is something I had never thought about. I figured that all citrus would act the same.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

How did I miss this post? Apricots are so yummy...and such a treat because they are always pretty expensive in the stores. They are the perfect snack...I can just imagine how yummy that was to pick one and immediately eat it, still warm from the sun.

A "blog" of ice cream? Bob's been sitting at his computer for too long. lol :-)

The real question here now is: HOW WAS THE APRICOT PIE?? I've never heard of such a thing. I'm sure you all have eaten it up by now. Do tell! Details, please.

(I'm running out to my mailbox just in case my piece is in the mail)

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Danni,
Good to hear from you! You have been very busy over there on Critter Farm, that's how you missed this apricot post.

My sunshine apricots were delicious! And the bunch I got from Bob's parents were wonderful too. Bob did make a delicious apricot pie and also a peach pie with some peaches we got at a local "Stone Fruit Festival". Yes, the apricot pie is not something we usually see or hear of. It was good. I plan to make one myself very soon to try my hand at it. The apricots have a more intense flavor than the peaches do. Jack made a delicious Apricot Crisp that we enjoyed over the holiday weekend with some vanilla ice cream. So both guys bake, which means that I don't have to bake as often. I was waiting for them to do their thing first, then I made a cheesecake with apricot sauce topping. It was good too. I pitted and froze the rest of my apricot share and will be making apricot ice cream tonight and then pies and crisps, maybe jam, as the mood strikes me.

Yes, Bob's apricot pie is all gone. We split it between us and his parents as a thank you for the apricots they gave us. Sorry, I didn't have your mailing address to send you a piece. Look for a future post here on Mountain Harvest Basket for your "virtual" apricot pie. I am afraid that's the best I can do.LOL!