Volunteers plant fruit trees at Alief Community Garden
More than two dozen young fruit trees were planted in the Alief Community Garden on Saturday, Oct. 13 by local youth and adult volunteers.
Alief was one of 20 U.S. communities out of 100 applicants to win an orchard specially selected for their region, said Melissa Marasco, spokesperson for Dreyer’s, which sponsored the voting competition, Communities Take Root, last spring.
“I have the distinct privilege of working with communities like yours to make these orchards possible,” said arborist Rico Montenegro of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.
“You guys came together, and by voting, you made this possible.”
“This orchard will be here when you have children,” Barbara Quattro told the volunteers. Quattro is chair of the Alief Super Neighborhood, International Management District (IMD) community development committee chair, and one of the community activists behind the development of the garden. “You can bring your grandchildren here and say, ‘I was a part of this.’ ” she added.
Quattro and her grandchildren were part of the volunteer planting team, along with IMD Board of Directors Chairman Wea Lee and his grandson. IMD provided the tools, and Dreyer’s provided water and coconut, orange and pineapple frozen fruit bars.
The first tree into the ground was a blood orange, popular in the Mediterranean, said Montenegro. Other fruit selections that make up the 28-tree orchard include a navel orange, lemon, tangerine, pear, plum, fig, nectarine, pomegranate, persimmon and two kinds of apples that should grow well in a warmer climate, he added. The apple varieties are the Dorsett Golden and the Eisenheimer, a sweet apple that originated in Israel, he said.
At the end of the day of planting and installing an irrigation system, Montenegro offered a workshop for those interested in helping to maintain the orchard.
“A lot of the trees have the potential to bear fruit next year, but this is a long-term commitment,” said Montenegro, who travels all over the world to launch orchards. “What you are doing is an investment in the future. We want to leave the world a better place than when we came.”