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  • Last modified 1434 days ago (Oct. 22, 2014)

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A new cash crop for Kansas

On Monday Linda Miles Martinez showed me some fall decorating she did in the entry of her downtown business, ManeStreet Beautique. She claimed not to be a crafty person, but I am a pretty good judge of who is or is not crafty since I cannot even fill a basket with pinecones at Christmas to make things look festive. So when I saw her attempts at fall decorating I thought, “Hmm, she is telling me some woofers here. These decorations are nice. She really IS craftier than she admits.”

However, guess what I saw then? A nice vintage bucket full of hedge apples parked next to the door of the Laundromat, which adjoins her building and shares the entryway. It is true, a bucket of hedge apples sitting right there like they were a festive fall product of some sort.

Long-time readers of this column might remember that I commented several years ago about a series of photographs appearing in the home decorating magazine, “Country Living,” which featured the pale green and warty produce from our Osage Orange trees as special and rare decorating accoutrements of the holiday season. Those of us in Osage Orange country all were aghast at the thought of that product (previously known only as a deterrent for cockroaches if sliced and placed around water pipes) being displayed in artful and festive arrangements for the winter holidays.

However, despite my sarcastic assessment of the Osage Orange as a holiday decoration, the fruit of the lowly hedge apple tree has continued to be seen in glossy home decorating magazines. Friends in northern regions such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and points north say those blasted old hedge apples will sell for about $3 each in Wisconsin and get even pricier as they move north toward the Canadian border. How about that?

We need to figure out how to capitalize on this. Imagine hedge apples as a cash crop! Hopefully, this will spark a discussion with the Coffee Shop Advisory Board and we will be well on our way to economic success.

In the meantime, you might scout around the countryside and gather a bucket of hedge apples for your own holiday decorating – or not, if you are as skeptical as I am about this new fad.

—SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified Oct. 22, 2014

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