I got a very interesting email today from Tasting Table CHI – it was about leasing an apple tree from Earth First Farms. What’s this you say? Well, Earth First Farms is selling shares of their apple trees – you can lease one tree for $50 for the season, and you get all of the apples that the tree produces. Their trees average 2-3 bushels, which is 80-120 pounds of apples! That’s a great amount for eating fresh as well as root cellaring, freezing or canning to tide you over through the winter. And $50 is a serious bargain!
You can either head out to Berrien Center, MI to pick your apples yourself (a great fall Saturday trip) or have them to deliver to one of several Chicago farmers market for an additional $10.00.
Several varieties of apples are available for lease this season – Paula Red, Empire, Jonathan, Stark Crimson, Red Chief, Golden Delicious, Rome and Idared. If you’re worried that 2-3 bushels might be too many apples for you family’s own use, consider splitting a lease with a friend – this is exactly what we did. We purchased a lease on an Empire tree as soon as I got the Tasting Table CHI email.
I strongly encourage everyone to check out this program – we’ve purchased Earth First Farms apples and cider from the farmers markets for years now, and they grow and produce a quality product. They’re certified organic and family-operated. Lease programs like this are great for everyone involved – the farmer gets up front capital to manage the upcoming growing season, and you get dedicated produce. A lot of folks I know last season went to other farms for you-pick apples last year and the demand far exceeded the supply in most cases – by leasing a tree, you know that your apples will be there in the fall (nature cooperating). It’s a win-win situation. Earth First is set up to take paypal or credit/debit cards, so lease your tree while your favorite variety is still available!