I have a capacity for renovating neglected land. Having just spent three years bringing life to the TESLI property in Phoenix, it was only a matter of months before an abandoned orchard in Sonoma County asked for my contribution. After some thoughtful consideration, which included the realization of just how much labor would be required, I opted in.
The property sits about five miles from the coast as the bird flies. It is atop the first coastal ridge off the ocean and sits just above the fog line. About half of the 10 acre property is enclosed in 10 foot deer fence. Within the confines of the fenced area are plums, plucots, peaches, apples, Asian pears, mulberries, walnuts and more.
The majority of the orchard is engulfed by blackberry brambles. The brambles reach over 10 feet high in places and completely cover fruit trees. The trees haven’t been pruned in years. Many of them have broken branches from the weight of excess fruit. They are also overgrown with Usnea and lichens.