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Today I’ll be making apple pie to share tomorrow at work. I’m using apples from our very own tree.

In my circle of friends, it’s rare to be someplace long enough to plant a tree and see it bear an abundance of fruit. I think that this is probably more common in today’s world, because of transience in our jobs as well as an increased tendency to rent, rather than to buy our dwellings.

While my husband credits me with having turned him on to sustainability and gardening, he planted this tree the year his son was born, 14 years ago. He planted it on Arbor Day, and says it was really only a whim, but now that we are in our 30s, it makes dozens of sweet, green apples. This, to me, is a miracle.

Community gardens are wonderful, but the next generation of permaculture must include neighborhood orchards. We have room for one apple tree, one grapevine, some hops, two blueberries, and a plum that unfortunately does not bear because it needs a pollinator (mate). But, our sunshine space is almost full. What if our neighbor planted a pollinator, and we could both enjoy plums? Could they plant a fig tree, and trade figs with us? One can quickly imagine how abundant a neighborhood could be if landlords planted fruit trees, and entrusted their tenants to their care and harvest. Indeed, this is not our culture now!

So often, we decide against planting perennials, because we know our futures are uncertain and we will not reap the benefits of our investment. Sadly, as this trend continues we see less and less of anything but lawn on rented property, the landscaping not serving as much more than a value booster. I wish fruit tree plantings were subsidized. Can they be?

Thank you, Charles, for planting that tree for Aaron then, and now, for us, because he is still here and since I moved in I get to enjoy it as well.

The tree requires very little care. It did suffer from woolly aphids this year, but they don’t often damage the tree. It may not produce as much in times of drought, but again, as a permanent part of your garden it will pick up again next year where it left off, saving you a great deal of energy compared to what it would take to produce the same volume of produce with a plot full of annuals.

The food:

I trust the Joy of Cooking on pies, so I followed their recipe for Apple Pie I (in which the apples are not precooked) with Flaky Pastry Crust I. I used trans fat free shortening for my vegan comrades, but using local butter is also possible. I used Lindley Mills flour, ground locally of shipped wheat. North Carolina has never grown hard (bread-worthy) wheat because of the climate, but thanks to a new project in Asheville, we may have our own wheat in the next few years!