First Annual Green Elephant Fruit Tree Propagation Fair on March 30

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff
What does Petite Peach-Plum, a luscious white-fleshed peach-plum hybrid, Doyenne d’Hiver (Easter Beurre), a winter dessert pear that can be harvested between December and February and can be stored through spring, and Claygate Pearmaine, a rich, nutty, russet apple, have in common?
Home gardeners or non-commercial growers interested in growing those cultivars or other unusual heritage fruit trees that are curated for organic growing in the Pacific Northwest are invited to attend the first annual Green Elephant Fruit Tree Propagation Fair, which will be held on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Redmond (11526 NE 162nd Avenue). 
Register for this free event via Eventbrite  Rootstocks are available for purchase for $3 to cover Agrarian Sharing Network’s (ASN) expenses. Fruit-tree cuttings (scions) and non-grafted, bare root figs, grapes, kiwis (male and female), and pomegranates are free.  Free parking is available at the church parking lot.
“Creating a custom, regionally adapted fruit tree is as simple as 1-2-3,” said Father Jim Eichner, founder of Food Bank  Farm,  the  Green Elephant Plant Swap and the Green Elephant Propagation Fair, and rector of the Holy Cross church. “First, pick a rootstock, based on desired tree qualities such as size, vigor, and resistance to pests and diseases. Second, decide on a type of fruit: apple, pear (European or Asian), cherry, stone fruit (peach, nectarine, plum, apricot or their hybrids). Third, choose a scion based on preferred characteristics, such as flavor, color, texture, storage duration, or when it can be harvested. Then, bring the scion and rootstock to a seasoned grafter who will graft them together or help you do it.  You can take home a custom heritage fruit tree, which will bear fruit in approximately 3 to 4 years, all for a $3. 
In addition, ASN’s grafting expert, Chris Homanics, will present a free “Grafting: How to Create Your Own Tree” workshop from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Green Elephant Fruit Tree Propagation Fair, Green Elephant Plant Swap, and Food Bank Farm were founded by Jim Eichner to share knowledge and foster community among growers, and support local food banks. Since its inception in 2011, Food Bank Farm has grown, harvested and donated 700,000+ pounds (2.8 million servings, $1 million retail value) of farm-fresh produce to 350+ food banks in Western Washington, increasing its yield by at least 15 percent year over year for the last 5 years. The Green Elephant Plant Swap, now in its 16th year, is a quarterly gathering of Puget Sound gardeners and plant enthusiasts who share gardening know-how and plants from the abundance of their gardens.

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