It feels like a vacation when you head over to Governor's Island on the ferry boat, taking in the city skyline from a fresh new perspective. And Governor's Island has lots to offer: the latest is Sam Van Aken's combo public art-horticulture-environmental protection installation, The Open Orchard. The plantings are actually "hybrid trees", done through grafting, that contain antique and heirloom fruit varieties that were native to, originated in or were historically grown in and around NYC over the past 400 years, which have disappeared thanks to climate change and industrialization. These hybrid trees actually act as a "gene bank and living archive", preserving different varieties despite the changing climate and environmental challenges. How exciting to revive these once-indiginous fruits so that we can taste this part of our city's history? It's hard to believe that a centry ago, there were 3000 varieties of apples in the us, 2000 varieties of plums and 3000 varieties of peaches! It gets you thinking - what deliciousness are we all missing out on? I know I would like to find out!
In addition to the 102 trees on the island, there are 100 more spread through the city in community gardens throughout the five boroughs. Look out for upcomign programming, including grafting workshops, fruit tastings, harvest events, and culinary lessons inspred by the Orchard!
[photo above, credit Sam Van Aken - rendering; photo below by Timothy Schenck]