In the first two hours alone, more than three hundred people filed through the doors of the Main Pavillion of the Clackamas County Fairgrounds yesterday for the Home Orchard Society’s Fruit Propagation Fair. They came to gather little sticks–that is, scion wood–to graft onto trees in their home orchards or onto rootstock that was sold at the fair. Scions from over six hundred fruit varieties were free with the price of admission ($4 for members, $6 for nonmembers). Grafting kits, composed of natural rubber bands and sealant, were available for a small fee. Expert grafters both taught the skill and grafted scion to rootstock on request, for another small fee.
Although I arrived shortly after the doors opened, I was too late to get scions of the two apple varieties I wanted. Instead I chose a few French varieties, for their lovely names alone. I also picked up cherry rootstock and had it grafted with scions I’d brought myself, from my favorite wild cherry.
The Home Orchard Society serves not only home gardeners, who get to eat wonderful varieties of fruit that stores don’t sell, but also all the world, by maintaining genetic diversity not in a gene bank but in backyards all over our region.
Does your region have an organization like the Home Orchard Society?