Posted by: bwoof | December 15, 2009

Pears and grapes and a farmer

Today while walking the halls at school I came across a really interesting class. The teacher had invited a farmer to come and explain to the class how he grows grapes and tender fruits.

For those of you not near the Niagara Peninsula, you’ll need to know that there is a very unique ecozone located on the south and southwest end of Lake Ontario. It’s a bit of a sheltered area that sits right by the lake and just under the Niagara Escarpment (see picture below for a view of where I grew up on the escarpment). In this region some of the finest fruits are grown along with a flourishing wine industry that rivals the world’s best, or so they say.

The students learned how to graft Chardonnay grape vines into a less wanted but vigorous stalk of something else. They learned how the farmer carefully watches different genetic strains in order to create new varieties of fruit. I am the happy recipient of such a success story since the farmer proudly gave to me a beautiful HM62 Pear (shown above with a banana to give a sense of scale), so named because it was cultivated at the Harrow research station, apparently on the 62nd attempt. You can’t really get this pear in the grocery stores, yet, but I have to say it’s gorgeous and I almost don’t want to eat it.

But then again, as a fan of locally grown produce, I will enjoy every bite and say thank you to the farmer for his very real and practical lessons.

I also learned that he will go deeper into debt this year despite all his best efforts, his incredible knowledge, and his passion for connecting with the land.

There’s something wrong with this scenario.

But, there’s everything right about the photo below which shows the view from above the house where I grew up. I love that place!

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