The other day I met one of the most interesting individuals I have ever met. Nick is around ninety years old and lives with his wife down south of Eugene. He has a good piece of land full of various livestock ranging from mules to emus to goats and alpacas, but Nick also has a collection of around 6,000 different fruit trees. On 10 acres he has built one of the largest private collections of apple trees with 4,000 different varieties planted on the property.
The reason for visiting this farm was to collect scions, a young shoot or twig, from rare older varieties that correlated to the ones the Geer family originally had on the property in hopes to develop a heritage orchard on the farm. My expectation was that we would be searching for hours amongst the trees hoping to stumble upon the right ones that we needed. I was blown away when Nick provided a detailed book with the exact location of each tree by row and number in the row. Then when Nick insisted that he join us in the hunt for our scions I wasn’t sure what to expect but I am certainly glad he did. Our search only took about two hours and we found almost every tree. Even at ninety years old he knew exactly where his trees were and was out running around looking for them with us. I really enjoyed the opportunities to talk with him about his trees and about the different varieties of fruit he had on his farm. He offered information about grapes and figs, told us a little bit about his life before his calling to build his orchard. I feel as though I could have spent the whole day talking and asking him questions about fruit production and farming. I am most grateful though to have been able to witness such a passion and devotion to farming and an orchard.