Dear Friends of Adams Bench,
The disfigured, low lying, thick-trunked bush of a tree, which we couldn’t figure out on first or second glance, was surely destined for removal.
Beneath an old pine in the backyard, tucked snugly against fence beside horse pasture, it crawled along the ground, looking old and infirm, interfering with earth which seemed worthy of sod, and could then be mowed.
We were touring the property for sale when we first saw it in the spring 2006. What is that stump of a plant, we wondered? Is it alive? It seems to add nothing and probably needs to be removed, soon.
We ended up purchasing the property, the one now home to us and the winery, moved here that June, more acres than we had tended before, a large front pasture with many scrubs and shrubs, a one year old winery to run.
Work retrofitting our old barn began. As days became weeks we hoped it would be ready by harvest. It was (bless the builders), but the utility was on its own schedule, and the barn had no power. So, we rented a generator, and took in the first fruits of our second vintage.
Meanwhile, otherwise occupied, we totally forgot the gnarly old bush of a tree sitting awkwardly in our backyard…….until one evening early that harvest.
With punch downs done and just before dinner, resting in the backyard staring toward horse pasture, last light of day dancing through the pine, I saw a flash of green and blue on the awkward old tree-bush, enough that I stood and walked toward it.
I hadn’t looked at it in months, it was barely recognizable.
Brown and barren had turned dark green with leaves. Just beneath the leaves, shaded and difficult to see without looking very closely, collections of a small, blue somewhat oblong appearing fruit. I picked one, and took it inside to Erica.
"It’s a plum, where did you get that", she said matter of factly. "You’ll never believe it, it’s from that old scrub thing near the horse fence, come, look", I said.
We went, we stood and we looked, in disbelief. Plum after plum, dozens of them, some ripe enough they had fallen to the ground.
Energized by the discovery we were plum farmers, we picked our crop, the crop we didn’t know existed until moments before.
The old tree-bush was suddenly among our favorites, dignified not awkward, beautiful whatever its appearance.
Anyway, we believe it’s a "Blue Damson". (Think about it, how many families have a plum tree named for them?)
Each year we trace the growing season by watching our "Blue Damson" closely, as buds and then flowers emerge, brown and barren slowly evolves to green and blue, when it’s harvest time once more.
We picked our crop of plums again this week. The plum clafouti dessert Erica makes is tasty and special, a real treat…….our plum tree a reminder the grape harvest is near, and that beauty in nature comes in many forms.
Tim and Erica Blue
Adams Bench Winery