Welcome to our first installment of Humans of Hyde Park, a monthly feature showcasing a member of the community who is volunteering time and effort to make Hyde Park a cleaner, greener, more beautiful place to live, work, study, and play.
To kick off off, did you know there’s an apple orchard in Hyde Park? James Knauer, the volunteer caretaker of the orchard at the Stonybrook Reservation shares more about this discovery:
How long have you lived in Hyde Park? I’ve lived in Hyde Park since 2013.
Where exactly is the apple orchard and how did it come about? The apple orchard was started in 2012 in the Stonybrook Reservation. In 2014 I found a small sign labeling it the "Stonybrook apple orchard.” I investigated, asked around at an organization called Boston Natural Area Network (now part of The Trustees of the Reservation). There wasn’t anyone in charge of taking care of it, but with over 16 organic apple trees growing at my home in Hyde Park, I figured I could help out. Since then I prune, mulch, train the trees, spray for pests & disease, and planted a few more to keep them growing so that one day the community can benefit from a large enough orchard to pick from near their home.
How did you learn to care for the trees? I learned how to take care of apple trees from my grandfather as well as being self taught through reading and experience, and taking classes in the Boston area.
What advice would you give others who may have apple trees in their yard? Growing apple trees takes sun, at least 2 trees (or a neighboring crab apple) for fruit, and time. It takes between two to five years before an apple tree produces fruit. Regarding space, there are apple trees that can fit in a space as small at 4 feet round by 6 feet tall!
What have you used the harvested apples for so far? I’ve used the apples for eating, sweet cider, baking, and hard cider. With the hundreds of varieties of apples and flavor profiles you can have cider flavors vary as much as wine.
What is the best way to get involved with the apple orchard? Via email: email@example.com or phone: (508) 933-3751
How long will it be before the apple orchard is open to the public? The apple orchard will be ready for a soft opening next fall.
How can people keep updated on the apple orchard progress? Please follow www.KeepHPBeautiful.org for updates.
Nominate yourself or someone in the community for Humans of Hyde Park; nominees can remain anonymous in the story or use their first name only if they prefer: https://goo.gl/forms/qgTj1Rh8t2bSbh973