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As a forester-turned-heirloom orchardist, creating and managing low-input orchards for niche processing outlets has been my focus for over a decade. Along the way, I visited the genetic homeland of many temperate fruits in Central Asia to learn about how the wild fruit forests in Kyrgyzstan have been managed with livestock for centuries to produce organic meat/milk and fruit/nuts. The idea of having livestock integrated into the orchard design (which I soon found was called “silvopasture”) to supply an early and annual source of income was very attractive to me. My farm, HogTree, was founded to further develop my own concepts for designing diverse fruit and nut agroforestry landscapes that not only producing high-value niche products – like cider, Apple butter, etc- but also doubles to offset the feed costs for livestock grazing below the canopy. As a veteran fruit explorer, I select tree crops genetics in the landscape based on their value to agroforestry, history, and economic qualities (high sugars, low tannins, excellent disease resistance, etc) and use these high value genetics in my client plantings.
My full spectrum agroforestry services are offered through my company Fruit and Fodder (Fruitandfodder.com). You can find nerdy musings through my blog www.elizapples.com and buy HogTree charcuterie through www.hogtree.com