The time is ripe to take a new look at orcharding design and function. Around the country, from Michigan’s cherry trees to New York State’s apple and peach crops, orchards have been hit with crop losses after late frosts during the past few seasons. Disease pressures, such as those impacting the Florida citrus industry, are another major concern. In circumstances such as these, growers who aren’t diversified may have lost their primary income for the year.
The sustainability of a system dependent upon one cash crop, along with the lack of diversity inherent in such systems, combined with increasing concerns about the amount of chemicals used in conventional fruit and nut production, has led a new wave of orchardists to explore alternative methods of growing fruit.
Forward-thinking growers are utilizing a variety of means to reinvent the way an orchard grows. They are cultivating rare, unusual or native fruits, growing in a scale-appropriate manner and addressing orchard diversity through polyculture and mimicking natural ecosystems. Continue Reading →