Great Day for a Graft
When googling the Harrison apple, there is only one name that stands above the rest, and that is Tom Burford. You probably know him as Professor Apple. Tom has spent his lifetime in service to the apple, and has made it his duty to bring back the heritage fruits he remembers as a child.
We eagerly rose with the sun for our class taught by Professor Apple at Albermarle Ciderworks Vintage Virginia Apple Orchard. The class began with a beautiful reminiscence of the time when young Tom was up in an apple tree canopy 20 ft in the air to trim the trees in time for grafting season. The reflective scene brought us 80 years back in time, and gave us a segway into the importance of grafting.
Grafting (the fusion of bud wood of a particular fruit variety to root stock) is used to ensure a specified variety. Although Johnny Appleseed got pretty famous (and rich) from planting seeds, this method results in wild and unpredictable results. And, in our efforts to bring the famed Harrison apple back to New Jersey, grafting is a necessary skill to learn.
Our founder, Charles (pictured in the bottom right) has mastered the art of grafting. In fact, he was named valedictorian of the class by Professor Apple. That nomination was short-lived however, as we discovered Charles had grafted his buds facing upside down.
A two-hour class turned into a full day of fun. The Shelton family of Albermarle Ciderworks welcomed us into the cidermaker community with that classic southern hospitality and a whole lot of perfectly crafted cider.