Apr 122011

A group of Lummi Islanders, led by Thurid Clark, proposed an idea to the Heritage Trust—rehabilitate the old orchard at the Curry Preserve and plant a new orchard that would serve the island in future years enhancing our food security and sustainability.

That project is nearly complete. You can see a slideshow here.

The Heritage Trust Board budgeted $800 to clear out the blackberries that were clogging the site and for seeding the finished orchard with grass (seeding has been done). So far an additional $865 in cash contributions has been raised and spent on fencing. Fence stakes, tractor and tiller time and trees have been offered as in kind donations.

Here’s where we stand:

Twenty-five individual tree fences have been constructed. (We have room for six more fences)

Ten trees have been planted. (We have room for 21 additional trees and currently have commitments for 7 more trees).

Here’s what we need to finish the project:

$200 for the final 6 fences. (Labor will be donated).

$100 for irrigation parts (labor will be donated).

$350 for 14 more trees @ $25 each (orchard stewards will plant the trees and maintain them).

(Contributions can be tax deductible by making donations to the Lummi Island Heritage Trust and indicating the gift is for the Curry Preserve Orchard Project).

This orchard, over time, will produce a lot of fruit and nuts (apples, pears, plums, cherries, walnuts, hazlenuts) and will be a great benefit to the island. Hopefully, it will be the first of many public orchards. We encourage you to drop by the Curry Preserve and take a look and determine if the project is worthy of your support.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.”


  7 Responses to “Curry Preserve Orchard Project”

  1. Where exactly is the Curry Orchard Preserve?

  2. I applaud your effort, and will look forward to munching a few apples. My only concern is the many underutilized exiting trees that are on the island. I see a lot of fruit go to waste every year because it isn’t picked. Are we creating a monster here? More is not always better and that’s one heck of a lot of orchard. I can fruit every year and cannot even use it all, give a lot away, same with veggies … guess we need a distribution effort/analysis/survey, or something to justify all this. A lot of folks start out with good intentions but the glow dies off the project and who knows what the generations in the future will do with our good intentions? Orchards are a lot of work and a lot of care/chemicals to sustain them as well as water and so on. I grew up in orchard country as a kid in New England, loved it, especially the eating of the fruit. Time will tell what works, or if it was worth it.

  3. There is undoubtedly much fruit that grows on the island that goes uneaten. This is mainly due to the fact that people are not given access to it. The Heritage Trust is making this orchard accessible to all islanders, and only asks that we “take some, and leave some for others”. I have never considered fallen fruit to be “wasted”. It nourishes the soil, feeds the local wildlife, and insures continued health and growth.

  4. I suspect a lot of us, myself included, think that fruit comes from Fred Meyers and is always spotless and shiny. Likewise cider comes in bottles, dried fruit in bags and canned fruit comes in…. you guessed right!
    I’m really looking forward to figuring some of the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff out, and will encourage the Trust to have community outreach opportunities to teach dummies like me how to preserve fruit so that it doesn’t go to waste, and pruning to ensure the trees stay healthy and well maintained.
    I’d like to thank Randy and Thurid for all their hard work to keep this going, and all the other folks that have given freely of their time, money, and efforts to create this wonderful addition to the Heritage Trust.

  5. Pam’s reaction is interesting and challenging. Should note, though, that many of the trees that exist on the island are not cared for at all including the several old trees at the new orchard site and they do a pretty good job of what comes natural to them without much attention. This new orchard isn’t a commercial orchard, more like a home orchard. We aren’t dependent on making a living from it so the care requirements, although very important, aren’t as critical as in a for profit venture. There’s plenty of fruit available now. Agreed. The stores are full of stuff from S. America, Florida and elsewhere. But it’s possible, given Peak Oil and economic problems we face that even getting fruit here from Eastern Washington could be a problem in the future. The whole idea of the orchard is about the future and making some preparation for it.

  6. I say festival at the Heritage Orchard! Get some good local music, canning demonstrations, cider press, hard cider, bring some good PR to a good cause, don’t be shy…….

  7. I like Jim’s idea, and had made a similar suggestion to the Heritage Trust for a Harvest Potluck with dishes made from Island-grown ingredients. I’d also be happy to help people learn to can fruit, tomatoes, and pickles (anything that uses the water bath method — I don’t do pressure canning). I used to have some friends on Whidbey Island who had an annual cider pressing party at their farm. People would bring their own apples, sometimes a few bags of them and sometimes pickup loads, and everyone took a turn helping crank the press. It was tons of fun!

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