GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - While the Grand Valley is famous for its delicious peaches, cherries, and grapes, one orchard wants to bring back another fruit that used to be famous here; apples!
Cross Orchard's goal is not only to renovate parts of the apple orchard but to also introduce apple strains that were previously grown in the Grand Valley such as Olde English apples.
Cross Orchards historic site, made famous for their Jonathan apples grown by Grand Valley pioneers in early 1900s.
With 80 trees in the orchard, a variety of other apples like granny smiths and red delicious, are grown annually and with renovations in the work, Cross Orchards hope to introduce and reintroduce certain apple strains back to the Grand Valley.
"Vintage apple trees, different types, And we're going to be working, hopefully, with the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project and bringing in some Olde English types of apple trees, maybe some Olde French types. Some that are native and were grown here in Colorado, but some that have not been before", says Matt Darling the Manager of Cross Orchards Historic Site.
In order to meet their goals, some work needs to be done, even in the chill of winter.
"We've been assessing the irrigation system in here our orchard and it needs work. There are several spots where the trees are not getting properly watered and that caused them to die", says Darling.
Other renovation responsibilities include spraying for coddling moths while improving the irrigation's flood watering techniques.
"When you walk through the orchard when everything's in bloom you see red apples, green apples, speckled apples, large apple trees, small apple trees. It's all about diversity, also, when you have different types you get cross-pollination which makes the trees grow even better", says Darling.
Once the renovations are complete, Cross Orchards know just what to do with their seasonal haul.
"The biggest goal is when we get all the new trees planted it'll increase our apple crop which will allow us to have even more apple cider at our big 'Fall Day on the Farm' event which we hold on the third week of every October.Every year we run out of apple cider and people are disappointed, we want to avoid that in the future", says Darling.
Cross Orchards does accept donations so if you'd like to help them reach their goal of growing 10,000 more apples, check out their website at www.museumofwesternco.com/cross-orchards/ or call them at (970) 434-9814.
Cross Orchards is an orchard style museum affiliated with Museums of the West that displays a variety of grown foods including an in-depth look at railroad history in the Grand Valley.