I wanted to share and mark the passing of author, and organic orchardist extraordinaire, Michael Phillips, who passed away from an apparent heart attack while working in his orchard about a month ago. He was a mentor and a friend and we will miss him dearly. Each fall we’d make the almost 3 hour trek to his orchard to buy cider and apples and talk to him about his plans and tell him what we were doing. In all the years that I have been orcharding I had many so-called experts tell me that I couldn’t grow this or that kind of fruit here. Michael came to stay on the farm at our request and he was the one person who told me I absolutely could grow fruit here. I clung to that one encouraging proclamation which came from him and, of course, the rest is history. We now have an orchard of @ 144 rare & heirloom fruit trees. I was emailing with him just 10 days before his passing and I decided to tell him that he was the only one who encouraged me. I was so grateful and now so glad I got to say it to him before he left. RIP, Michael. You were very special.
Also, last August the keeper of the Etter apples, Ram Fishman, passed away. We will always remember him for preserving and cataloging Albert Etter’s apples and making them available to those of us who appreciated the history. His dear wife Marissa continues to sell heirloom roses. We wish Ram’s wife & family peace and health, knowing that his passing was very difficult for them.