Grow Your Favorite Fruit

scions‘Grow Your Favorite Fruit’ is the theme of this year’s Scion Exchange, held by the Golden Gate Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG), being held at the El Sobrante Baptist Church, on Sat Jan 22, Noon to 3pm. Details at the Golden Gate Chapter Scion Exchange webpage.

Scions are special fruit tree prunings used to propagate fruit trees. At this annual event we will be sharing hundreds of varieties of fruit scions to graft onto your own trees, including: apples, pears, quince, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and others, cuttings to root: grapes, figs, pomegranate, kiwi fruit, mulberries, and more, rootstocks and grafting supplies, grafting class and demonstrations, custom and assisted grafting of your selected variety onto a rootstock, local Fruit Friendly organizations represented, a raffle, and more.

This amazing diversity of propagation material of hundreds of fruit varieties comes mostly from 4 sources: The Heritage Fruit Orchard at Prusch Park in San Jose, taken care of by volunteers lead by the Santa Clara chapter CRFG and Santa Clara Chapter Master Gardeners, Andy’s Orchard, in Morgan Hill a commercial farm run by Andy Mariani, the restored orchard at Filoli, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Woodside, and Lastly the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Fruit and Nut Crops at the Wolfskill Experimental Farm in Winters. According to rare fruit collector and fruit historian, C. Todd Kennedy,

“Taken together, the four sources provide the largest and most varied offering of fruit propagating material available at any place in the world today-for fee or for free.”

There is considerable volunteer effort to collect, label, store, and distribute the scions to annual Scion Exchanges held by the various Bay Area CRFG chapters, including Santa Clara, which held in the first Exchange in San Jose 27 years ago, in addition to other annual exchanges for Monterey (in Santa Cruz), Golden Gate (in El Sobrante this year), Sacramento, Redwood (in Sebastopol), with another group in Mendocino hosting an exchange in Boonville.

The goal is to offer these unique varieties to the general fruit loving public. The hope is that people are able to successfully choose, collect, keep well labeled, propagate, nurture to fruiting, and to eventually bring back scions to share with others at the Exchange. When home growers are able to return scions to the exchange, it reduces the burden on the other sources of scion wood. Also, more ‘local favorites’ would also emerge. There are many backyard discoveries of unique seedling varieties that participants bring to share, which we encourage greatly.

Please join us for the event and volunteer to help make it a success.

Volunteer opportunities: The scion cutting effort at the Prusch Park Heritage Fruit Orchard, Saturday, Jan 8, 2011. Contact John Valenzuela for this and other volunteer opportunities preparing in advance of, and the day of, the Golden Gate Scion Exchange, Jan 22, 2011. (415) 246-8834, johnvalenzuela at hotmail dot com.

Join us on Wed Jan 2, at the SF Permaculture Guild monthly meeting for a 7:15pm presentation on Making the Best of the Exchange- What to bring, How to choose fruit varieties, and What to do with the scions to grow a tree. Full article here