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Stories from Cummins Nursery

About Cummins >> A family business >> Stories >> Dad's Corner

This is a section of Cummins Nursery dedicated to stories (preferably in some way connected to fruit and/or farming). We are open to stories you send in as well!!!

Kicking Leaves in Mr. Gage's Orchard | The Drive from Kinmundy | The Yellow Transparent Orchard | The Spray Crew |Hoodlin' |Loading Reefers | Ben Davis | Thirsty Cider | Backyard Orchards | Dad, Peeling Apples | Little Pearl and the Hot Box


Eddie Earles
Huntingtown, Maryland
I have a real soft spot for fruit trees.  One of my earliest memories, 
from about the age of 3 or 4, is standing in my back yard on a beautiful morning, eating pears that I picked up off the ground.  There were 3 standard-size pear trees there, big old trees that had evidently been planted along a fence row when the place was a farm, before the houses were built.  I still love pears.

When I was about 5 we moved to the other end of the street, down at the
bottom of the hill.  There were 2 apple trees in the back yard...a McIntosh
and a Stayman Winesap.  Dad built us a swingset under the McIntosh.  I
spent many a morning up in that tree, eating Macs, and those are some of the best memories of my childhood.  I don't ever remember Dad spraying or pruning or or otherwise tending those trees, but they always had plenty of apples. The codling moths took a few but there were still plenty for me.  To this day, those two varieties are my very favorite apples.

When I was 12 we moved out into the country.  We had a big yard, and 
Dad ordered a passle of trees from Stark's....apples, peaches, pears, and
plums.  We planted them and tended them.  After a few years, when they were just about big enough to bear, we had an exceptionally hard winter, with deep snow ('76-'77--you may remember).  A rabbit (starving, no doubt) found a gap in the fence and girdled most of the trees to dine on their bark.  I was heartbroken when I discovered it.

I grew up and went to college, started a career, and moved to South
Carolina.  For many years I lived in circumstances that prevented me from
raising fruit trees, but deep down I always wanted an orchard.  In the fall
of '98, I got wind of a good opportunity:  new job in Maryland in my field,
a promotion.  I took it, and while house-hunting, found a nice house in a
rural area in southern Maryland.  There were three apple trees in the back yard, planted some years earlier by the (now deceased) father-in-law of the
seller. The seller (not a fruit man himself) told me one was a yellow apple, and he thought it was a Golden Delicious.  The other two were red, but he had no idea which varieties they were.  The house was right and we bought it.  I fertilized, pruned, watered and sprayed the neglected trees; and despite a drought year, each bore a magnificent crop. And guess what varieties those red ones were! -- Stayman Winesap and McIntosh! We're a bit too warm for optimum development of Macs here, but they were still good. 

We must be in a perfect spot for Staymans, because they were big as grapefruits and exhibited magnificent flavor and perfect, fine texture.

I’ve been planting fruit trees right and left and now have only a few spots
left.  I'm excited about  the Geneva series of rootstocks and hope to try out
some trees on them. I especially want to see Geneva 11 in my orchard.

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