“What’s your favorite apple?”
“Honeycrisp,” Trees Forever Field Coordinator Patty Reisinger says without hesitation. “Once you taste one, you’ll know why. They’re very sweet and crisp.”
Reisinger’s love for apples and apple trees is apparent to anyone attending her Trees Forever Fruit Treekeeper class. While many gravitate toward the class because of the local food movement, Reisinger has always loved how growing fruit can tie generations together.
When fall comes around, three generations of Reisingers will pack into the family van and head out to an area orchard.
“The smell is wonderful. I think most people don’t ever experience it, so I want to encourage people to go to an actual orchard. You can smell the cider and the apples,” Patty said.
One of her favorite parts is taste testing fruit with her grandchildren.
“You go to the showroom, and there are so many varieties of apples to choose from,” She says with a smile. “The look on my granddaughter’s face when she tries a really sour fruit is priceless.”
Family moments in the orchard bring back memories of previous harvest seasons.
Reisinger grew up on the farm and remembers picking fruit with her sisters.
“My mom would make crab apple jelly, and the jelly would turn out pink,” Reisinger recalls. “Crab apples are bitter when taken off the tree. She added many cups of sugar. I don’t make the jelly anymore.”
She is pretty proud of her apple crisp though.
Now Reisinger’s four grandchildren are between ages six and 14.
“I want to keep tradition alive and slow down on a weekend afternoon,” Reisinger said. “As the kids get older, they get more involved in activities, but I need to remind myself to do it.”
There are too many good orchards for Reisinger to endorse just one, but then again, finding your own favorite is part of the fun.
If you are interested in Trees Forever’s Fruit TreeKeeper class, find more information here.