Friday, May 13, 2011

In Search of Blossoms

Spring in southwest Michigan is arguably the prettiest of all seasons. The acres upon acres of orchards make for a colorful and fragrant landscape. The other day, D and I took a drive out Coloma way in search of some fruit tree blossoms to photograph. If I were a more serious photographer I might have taken the time to research what blossoms would be available to photograph then but I'm not and I didn't. So when we came upon some fruit trees in bloom we had no idea what kind of blossoms they might be. There were lots of pretty ones though, and that was good enough for us.

We stopped every now and then and got out of the car and made our way to the edges of this field and that. We photographed deep pink blossoms and bright white blossoms and pale pink & soft white blossoms. They made for stunning photos with the bright blue sky for a background.

We shot a good number of pictures and decided to make one last stop at a field along Coloma Rd. We got out and took a couple pictures and were just finishing up when along came the farmer who owned the field. We saw him a ways off and D waved to him and he waved back. He rode up on an old red tractor with a big smile on his face.

He told us that the cherry trees we were photographing were past peak and that if we wanted to catch some trees in full bloom we should shoot some pictures of apple trees. And with that he offered to show us some.

It turns out that our friendly farmer was Randy Bjorge of Fruit Acres Farm. He and his wife have 200 acres of fruit trees! Theirs is a u-pick farm with a wide, make that a very wide, variety of fruit trees... cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, as well as a number of apple varieties. Randy rode along with us as we off-roded through his orchards. He was a font of information, telling us about certain varieties he was trialling,  bee rental (yes, he rents bees to pollinate his fruit trees!), phonemes for fruit tree moths, and much more. We asked lots of questions and he listened carefully and gave us very thoughtful, humorous, and easy to understand explanations.

We stopped several times to take pictures and enjoyed his company tremendously. All we'd set out to do was take a few pictures of fruit tree blossoms that day but we got so much more... we got an education. And we feel like we made a new friend.

I can hardly wait now until the fruit trees begin bearing fruit. Our mouths were watering on the drive home as we thought about all those luscious flavors! If I'd been smart, I'd have thought to ask Randy which fruit will come in season first and when that will be. He did mention when they'd be picking certain varieties of apples but I didn't take notes. The only date I remember was September 15th for Honeycrisp apples. Lucky for me, Fruit Acres Farm has a web site where they post the picking season for each fruit as well as a Facebook page. Hurry June!!! My mouth is watering for some cherries right now!

We'll be back, Randy, cameras in hand. But next time we'll be taking pictures of the fruit in season as well as bringing some home with us! Yum!

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