Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ruby Red?

When I was in Florida last month, my wife picked up some grapefruit at Pell's in the Farmer's Market. It was a little late in the season for Ruby Reds, but I had a craving and my mom's tree had none on it. When she returned home, I tore into one to discover the worst grapefruit I have ever eaten. If it were a woman it would have been Jessica Tandy. I was thoroughly disappointed... not that I didn't eat it. mind you. Picking through the rather dry fruit, I came across a couple of seeds which had sprouted. It really was an old grapefruit.

I love citrus trees. I guess it comes from growing up in an orange grove. There is nothing better than the smell of orange blossoms, except maybe for orange blossom honey. I've been meaning to get a tree or two to put on our sunroom, and was thinking of a kumquat or calamondin. I have no illusions about getting fruit from them, I just want something to remind me of Florida in the cold winter months.

So I took my handful of sprouted seeds and planted them a bit of Florida sand... because that is what I knew first.

What you know first stays with you, my Papa says
But just in case I forget
I will take a twig of the cottonwood tree
I will take a little bag of prairie dirt
I cannot take the sky

Patricia MacLachlan
What You Know First
Pell's grove is just down the street from our old farm, and the fruit that I ate as a kid probably came from the same stock as theirs. We lost most of our trees in the frosts of the early 80's, but as we didn't have a commercial operation going, we didn't really do much to protect them. I'm sure most of Pell's trees made it, or are at least grafted from those trees.

So I now have six little seedlings of what I hope are Ruby Reds. We'll see if they can stand Massachusetts too. They, and I, will have their own little bit of dirt to remind them.

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