Sunday, December 8, 2013

Big Thanks to Allie Iacocca (getting it together) and Geoffrey Steen (host) for pulling off such a fun and inspiring Fruit Nut party!
Pot Luck Dinner!
It's been a long "off season" for us fruit nuts, and it's easy to think that in all the hustle and bustle of summer that folks have forgotten about us. Now that we've had our first event, I know it's not true! At least 15 Fruit-o-haul-licks came, and we spent a long night talking about all the projects we've been getting into over the summer and fantasizing about what trouble we might get into this winter. We enjoyed these successes, despite the fact that the Buncombe County Fruit and Nut Club was beyond it's territory, in the mysterious hills of Madison County.

There was good energy buzzing around getting a planting and earthworks effort done in the near future, including from some new-to-the-club locals near the intended location. Folks crafted, cracked black walnuts and pecans, shared about different grafting tools and connected over some delicious food. I hope I don't overreach myself here, but I think I'd have to give the food prize to Allie, for showing up big with a delicious persimmon and pumpkin pie.

We even met someone, who previously unknown to the club, took it upon himself to plant a few blueberries where anyone in Asheville might feast on them for years to come. We say "cheers to you good fellow, and now - be among your fruity kin!"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

National Fruit conference coming to Asheville, NC Aug 8-11

Nafex meeting in Asheville, NC August 8th-11, 2013 Registration (includes food)- 60.00

This year’s theme- “Honoring our elders” or rather… Wanting to know what the old farts have to say for themselves”
“From the vast chaos of comingling species, forms have been created and segregated which will produce great and unexpected changes in fruit and flower culture.”
                                              -Luther Burbank- New Creations in Fruits and Flowers 1893

What Luther Burbank found true and one of the secrets to his enormous success I find still holds true whether we are talking about varieties of fruit or folks. I accepted the role as coordinator of the Nafex meeting this year not only for the fame and fortune I expect to succeed it, but because I was given the license to introduce a little “chaos” to the meeting. It is my passion to help revitalize Nafex by introducing some hybrid vigor by attracting new and younger members. This is a call out for support from you elders to be open minded in this endeavor and hope that something of my intentions will stir ancient callings in your heart that will implore to you the imperativeness of this offer.

I have been to several Nafex and NNGA meetings and what I took from those encounters was a surge of not only more confidence in managing my fruit and nut trees, but new ideas, and most important new friends. These benefits I received from meetings didn’t happen in the auditorium dozing off at power point presentations, or in a bus to look at some University demonstrational farm. No sir, they came from the hallway doughnut exchange. So here in Asheville, the Buncombe Fruit Nut Club has volunteered to organize this year’s meeting. The educational format will be simple with 1.5 hour time slots spent in the hallway hanging out eating doughnuts. Then we break for 15 minutes to the auditorium where we can catch a cat nap to some academic’s powerpoint presentation. Then back out to the hallway to do what we traveled so far to do- share and talk about what we love with amateurs like ourselves and hear what the old farts have to say for themselves.

Though that is part joke and part seriousness, that is the format and spirit with which we would like to direct. This meeting will be more like an old camp revival with lots of opportunity for people to sit in smaller circles and share ideas and build connections hopefully with a good mix of elders and youngsters distributed throughout each- the best of the old mixed with the best of the new. There will not be any prearranged talks by “experts” and we will not be spending money on buses to go somewhere. (As a matter of fact I would rather we take our bus and tour money and put it towards saving the Nafex Library!) Most of your registration fee will go towards the excellence of the food provided. We take food seriously in Asheville and the food at this meeting, I assure you, will be of the first rate kind procured from local farmers. We hope that eating together home style will further optimize the cultivation of relationships at this event. The educational program, which will be a full two days, and the heart of the meeting will be set up the first morning with something called “open space”. This model of democratic self governance brings together a group of people, and in an amazingly short amount of time, creates a structure of break out groups where a variety of ideas can best be shared. It has work very well for our Permaculture conferences for the last 20 years with over 120 attendees.

Open Space and how it works- First off, everyone is welcome and encouraged to contribute. All the people who would like to present, share an overview of their topic in front of the entire group in less than a minute. After all the ideas have been submitted we see which ones can be combined. Then people vote on which ones they want to participate in. Ones that aren’t popular either melt into another topic or are removed. The schedule is set and then we break into our “hallway groups” changing every 1.5 hours. We have tentatively made Saturday afternoon full group panel discussions with panelists and topics to be determined by Saturday morning. One nice thing about the flexibility of the smaller groups of open space is if you have presented in the past you can bring back that subject and people who have already heard it can go somewhere else or you can find a related group and add your special forte to it.

The theme this year will be “Honoring the elders”. It has been my impression that the experienced based amateurs that make up the heart and soul of Nafex don’t understand how important and relative their work is. Yes, unbenounced to my fellow Nafex colleagues is a swelling demographic of young, motivated, intelligent, health conscious people looking to grow fruit for the love of it, Permaculture, food security, economic benefit, redevelopment of the commons and community building through shared gardens, etc... You, members of Nafex, who have been exploring those regions of marginal fruits for decades, hold the experience that this upswelling movement is now taking an interest in… would so benefit from… and ideally carry forth in the work. The objective of this “Honoring of the Elders” is to hybridize these young, experience-starved folks with you, the older, experienced members of Nafex. It’s not a guarantee, but hopefully these young folks will experience forthright the relevancy of having access to the club and its base of knowledge and themselves become members. It’s called succession. It’s what trees do. The old, fallen, nurse tree with the young sapling drawing off the nutrients is the pattern we are trying to replicate.

To register for this event go to or direct link is 

Nuts and bolts-

Asheville is a small city we like to call the “Paris of the south”. It is an enormous tourist draw due to its location in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs right through town and 5000’ mountain wilderness is a mere 40 minute scenic drive away. At 2300’ Asheville’s climate tends to be more moderate in the summer than the low lands. Because of this, Corneleous Vanderbuilt built his chateau here and the Biltmore Estate is still the largest private residential house in America open for tours along with its extensive gardens. While building this house he attracted a multitude of artists and many settled here creating a huge artist colony that has surged in the last 20 years. This, in turn, has attracted restaurants, theatres, music venues and last year we were voted #1 beer town in America for our plethora of microbreweries. Asheville/Hendersonville airport serves this area being 20 minutes away from downtown Asheville. Greenville, SC has a larger international airport about 75 minutes away.

We hope you can make it,
Bill Whipple- Buncombe Fruit Nut Club

Furious fructose fiends fan out out for fruit fluffing foray

Furious fructose fiends fan out out for fruit fluffing foray

It was on a delightful April sunday morning that the BFNC set out to do what they do so well throughout Asheville town- Praise the load!
At the church of the Holy Riparian Backstop in a low laying storm drain located at the arm pit of Hall Fletcher Elementary school did the deacon of delicious fruit, Gabbi, speak praises of the load from a top her cardboard box soon to be turned to mulch. She regaled the congregation in the ways of rebirth , renewal, regeneration as we spread compost, soil ammendments, cardboard and wood chips over a desolate corner of the playing fields laid to waste by sewer workers. This the second phase of the recreation of the garden of eden.
"What!" you may ask, "there were no trees planted?". "Blasphemy!" You further expell, agast. "What are these so called, BFNC'ers, who extoll the planting of fruit trees on the holiest of spring mornings idling away spreading the load but not planting trees doing? How can I be a part of such frivolity, foolishness, and frolic? Like spring struck sprites in spontaneous sport-
Gabbi might say in words of elloquence so natural as though it flows from a metal pipe draining water away from drought stricken barren urban landscapes. "You see, we will do it in the Fall when its easier for trees to transplant and we can only plant as much as what the club can  take care of for the next 10 years and we dont have enough members to plant more trees. Planting trees is like having a baby... (I dont think this part is from her experience) so much fun and satisfying , but it is only the beginning. Dont plant trees, or have babies for that matter, if you wont continue to take care of them. Hopefully they will grow up heathy and then take care of you, she may add" 

The congregation adjurned inspired by the hands on healing they did from soil preparation and fungal enhancemnet, to erosion control of soil ripped gullies. A most interesting technique was inaugurated by the said slack members of the BFNC, where in, an elederberry that thwarted the the cities massive track hoe from completely annialating the orginal planting, like a chinese individual thwarting the tanks in Tienamen square, China, was now called upon to thwart the erosion of our schools. Ditches were dug on contour across the the gullies of eroding free thought and the development of the purpose of an individual's soul gift contribution to this world, and the elderberry trunk, roots and all, was laid in the ditch with the bourgening leaves pointing up all along the ditch backed by a small dead log, and compost laid ontop of this main stem with the leaves still above soil level. As we all know how well elderberries layer, a mat of roots will spread and stabilize the soil the nutrients meanwhile catching water furthering the regeneration of the barren slope. Regeneration will revive and return the riparion region righteously.

This event inaccurately reinacted by T. Bone Backslide

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Montford Rec Center Front End Fluff

 On Sunday, February 24th about 20 fruit nuts gathered at the Montford Rec Center to give the edibles there some love and attention.   In no time at all the Frond End Fluffing, laughing and playing began.   
 There was a good showing of Junior Members at the event.  We grilled up some super tasty Hickory Nut Gap hotdogs for lunch.  There are now more than thirty edibles planted at the site. From 15 year old plums to freshly planted paw paw's.  If you are in the neighborhood stop and by and check out your edible park!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

West Asheville Park Party

We couldn't have had a nicer day to celebrate the fourth year of the edible planting in the West Asheville Park.  The original trees put on a tremendous amount of growth last year and are looking fine.  

Greet and Meet
Fruit nuts loving the trees

Three European hybrid Hazelnuts looking fine

The Hazelnuts had there first crop last season with the potential for a great harvest this year.  The Mulberry is now about 15 feet tall and has a huge amount of fruiting wood, just have to beat the birds to the berries.  The two American Persimmons and two Paw Paw's that were planted last year received extra attention and now have big "eye brows" (or berms) to help water to infiltrate the root zone and promote growth.  All plants were treated to a good weeding, scoops of mineral amendments, a generous heap of compost, and a layer of mulch.  

Elder's hanging with the Elderberries

Lunch and some cornhole

We took a break for lunch, played some cornhole and were treated to a talk about Native Edibles.  The majority of the plants here are native which is a testament to their success.  Natives are more resilient because they are locally adapted to the soil and climate of a particular bio-region.  Ramin then told the group about the signs being made by first graders at Francine Delaney New School just down the road.  They will be installed by club members and the students on March 1st at 1pm.  Tomas then gave a demonstration on how to properly split locust rounds into stakes, which will be used to hold the new signs.  
Tomas splitting  locust stakes for signs that were made by first graders at Francine Delaney

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fig Magnolia Park front end fluff

Sunday, January 27th proved to be an amazing day for the fruit trees, nut trees, berry bushes and fruiting vines located at the Fig Magnolia Park in Montford.   These plants received amazing TLC from the community.  A group of 25 fruit nuts spent the day freeing the root zones of all the plants of the dreaded bermuda triangle grass, amending them with "magic fairy dust" aka mineral amendments, applying a generous ring of compost, adding a fat layer of wood chips on top and finally giving them some pruning love.  All in all the trees thanked us with promises of a very productive year to come.
Diospyros virginiana,American Persimmon
var. John Rick 
Learning the Non-Patented "Front end Fluff"
 method of tree care.
Fluffing the Illinois Everbearing Mulberry,

Morus alba x rubra

roller-blader checking out the nut display

All present had the pleasure of laughing, playing, and getting to know each other a little better.  We learned about the value of building community while building the soil around the plantings.  We shared knowledge on how to organically maintain the health and vitality of edibles in the urban landscape. 

Hot Dogs in the foreground, jr. fruitnuts and Scott in the background

This is the stuff the fruit and nut club is made of, people.  Come on out and see for yourself this coming Saturday, February 9th at the West Asheville Park.  

All star Jr. Fruitnut's
Muscadine Grapes, Blueberries and Hardy Kiwi's!
Serviceberries looking great

North Asheville Tree Care Skill Share

A few weeks ago, on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, a group of 20 Fruit Nuts gathered at the Montford Recreation Center with one thing in mind......wheelbarrow race!  So after we got that out of our systems we began a fun filled day of learning and implementing the front end fluffing the mature edible planting at the center.  We built burms around the base of all the trees to catch rain water and direct it toward the root zone.  We followed that with a dose of magic fairy dust aka organic slow release nutrients that we forked into the ground around the trees to get it to the roots.  The trees also received a generous helping of the infamous "Eli Sludge" (anaerobically digested goat manure) and compost from Crowell Farms.  We then placed a layer of cardboard down to hold back any grass or weeds that were thinking about trying to take nutrients away from our trees.  On top of the cardboard we placed a generous helping of leaves that we gathered from around the site, followed by a heaping pile of every trees favorite thing MULCH!!

Compost Delivery!

Thank you to Asheville Greenworks and their group of volunteers for helping to load, deliver, and unload compost donated by Danny's Dumpster!