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  • Last modified 106 days ago (June 8, 2017)

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Cherries in abundance

Couple has bumper crop to give away

News editor

Linda Wetta looked up at the three dwarf cherry trees in her yard, branches heavy with fruit, and shook her head.

“I’ve already picked a half a dozen buckets full,” she said.

In other years the bounty would be welcome. Linda would simmer the tart red berries, mash them, and turn them into jams and jellies. But the Wettas have plenty.

“I’ve got like 20 to 24 jars in the basement already,” Linda said. “I’m not doing anything cherry.”

So the Wettas have cherries to give away to anyone who wants them.

They won’t go without fresh fruit, however, because their yard at 802 Walnut St. in Peabody is a miniature orchard of 15 to 18 fruit trees, almost all of them dwarf varieties.

“We’ve got apples and apricots, in the backyard are peaches,” Linda said. “All of our fruit is dwarf because ….”

Leroy cut her off.

“Ladders and old men don’t mix,” he quipped.

Along with trees bearing familiar fruit are a couple of unusual hybrids.

“That’s a pluot,” Leroy said. “They’re ¾ plum and ¼ apricot. That tree over there is an aprium, an apricot/plum cross, and it’s ¾ apricot and ¼ plum. The pluots, we’re going to be trying to get rid of some because there’s so much.”

Nearby are standard varieties of the two fruits.

“I’ve got to have a plum to pollinate that tree,” Leroy said, pointing to the pluot, “and I have an apricot to pollinate that one.”

One tree in the mix is an anomaly, a tall narrow one that towers over the surrounding dwarves. It wasn’t the kind of tree the Wettas thought they ordered, and they don’t know what it is.

“We don’t order tall trees like that,” Linda said. “It’s got the best apples on it. They’re delicious. But they don’t know what it is that they sent us so we can’t order any more.”

The biggest chore in tending the trees is spraying them to keep insects away, Leroy said.

“You’ve got to fight the bugs to get any fruit,” he said.

Another element of nature, cold weather, wasn’t something they could control.

“The frost came at the wrong time; we won’t have many apples this year,” Linda said. “The peaches I think are OK. This year it looks to me like I’m going to put up a lot of peach preserves, jelly, and jam.”

Those will go in the basement pantry with the cherry, blackberry, and strawberry products, and Linda knows what Leroy’s favorite is.

“Anything anybody will bring to him,” she said, smiling.

Last modified June 8, 2017

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