Almost two years ago I begged and bartered my way onto the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project Board. “I can be of use!” I reasoned. “I grew up in an orchard! I’m a wizard with a grafting knife!” The grafting-wizard was a small white lie but I figured I could learn.
I wanted to serve on the Board for purely selfish reasons. When you see something great happening, you want in. When I realized what Jude and Addie were up to, their focused expertise, passion and drive to bring back our orchard culture and industry, I wanted to be a part of it. I was also running the Montezuma School to Farm Project. Having worked with Nina, MORP’s Director, on other community initiatives, I knew she was smart, savvy and understood a few things about launching new projects. I thought, “Why not learn from the best, and what better way to learn than to participate?”
Since that time I’ve been involved in a plethora of board meetings with topics ranging from the discovery of the thought- to-be-extinct Colorado Orange Apple and preservation of the historic Gold Medal Orchard in McElmo Canyon, to the finer points of favor, texture, and appropriate harvest time for each apple variety. I suddenly realized I had been living in a hollow apple world, thinking Granny Smith and Red Delicious were all that I could ever hope for. Now the Apple Door had swung wide open and before me stood the orchards of my dreams – Thunderbolts, Cedar Hill Black, Raspberry apples. The names conjured up images and flavor combinations that made my heart flutter.
It dawned on me that our pioneer predecessors who planted these orchards left us a legacy. And we get to choose whether or not we pick up the baton and carry forward this rich orchard culture. MORP has chosen to pick up the baton and carry forward this rich orchard culture. But we can only do it together as a team, with our whole community on board.
We are at a key moment in our regional history. Many of the old trees are in danger of dying in the next five to ten years. If that happens without them being recorded and grafted into new trees, unique apple varieties could be gone forever. There are few times in life that you can lend a critical hand in carrying your history into the future in such a poignant way. This is one of them.
Whether you write a check to support MORP, purchase trees at our tree sales, plant new orchards, help restore old ones, join our industrious board, or help with fundraising, there is a place for you to be a part of history in the making. We hope you will join us in a fruit revitalization movement that is historic in nature, limited in time, and innovative to its core.
You are welcome to the table,