Paradise Lost

Every harvest with the GAP has a story, some more memorable than others. Something stands out – the setting, the characters, or the plot – and in this case it is all three.

It was getting to the end of cherry season when an acquaintance called and asked if we could help out his elderly friend Joan, who was a bit overwhelmed and hadn’t been able to get her cherries picked. “They’re organic” he said. (We all know what that means – a little white worm in each and every cherry.) “I don’t know” I told him, “We’re really swamped right now”

“She has a Kootenay cover”, he said. My ears perked up. I had heard about Kootenay covers – special polyester fibre nets that are put over cherry trees to keep out the dreaded cherry fruit fly – but had never seen one in action. I immediately agreed to call her.

I recognized the property. The house is older and set back from the road, hardly visible behind a number of mature fruit trees. There is often a “Honey for Sale” sign at the end of the driveway.  There was much more there, however, than I realized. It appeared to be a once-thriving orchard with numerous mature apple and pear trees, as well as apricots, plums, grapevines, raspberries, and a large overgrown vegetable garden plot. Several dilapidated outbuildings, piles of rusting tools, and an old apple press completed the picture. Read more