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Former Dedham Selectman Launches Apple Tree Project at Endicott Estate

The trees were planted in honor of Paul Reynolds' fellow selectmen.

Credit: Paul Reynolds
Credit: Paul Reynolds

Former Dedham Selectman Paul Reynolds this week announced that the has purchased five heirloom apple trees to recognize the board members with whom he worked with over the course six years. 

Reynolds wrapped up six years of service on the Dedham Board of Selectmen on April 12, during which time he worked with Mike Butler, Carmen Dellolacono, Sarah MacDonald and Jim MacDonald.

The effort, dubbed the new effort "The Civic Orchard: Dedham Heirloom Apple Tree Project," was also part of a partnership with Dedham Civic Pride. 

Having origins in Massachusetts and New England dating back to the 1600s, the trees were planted this week adjacent to the Endicott Estate's barn in Dedham by Dedham Civic Pride's Chuck Rando and Steve Murphy. 

The idea for the trees, Reynolds said, was inspired by the work of the Boston Tree Party, which works to have communities from across the Greater Boston area to plant fruit trees in civic spaces. 

"My hope is that this mini-orchard will be an enduring symbol of my deep appreciation for the work the Board of Selectmen have accomplished together to nurture and grow a vibrant community over the past six years," he said in a statement. "Along with bringing the benefits to the whole community with its fruit, shade and beauty, I also hope that this living and public recognition of civic leadership helps inspire others to serve and lead -- be it on the Board of Selectmen or any other elected, appointed or civic group."

Additionally, Dedham Civic Pride offered to provide a black iron bench for the planting area, on which visitors can relax. 

Reynolds related his gratitude for all the help he’s received on this project.

"I would like to extend my deep thanks for the consideration of the Dedham Civic Orchard Project by the Endicott Estate Commission and its Executive Director Erin Perron," he said. "I hope collaboration on this project adds additional beauty to the Estate, inspires increased civic participation, and brings joy to residents and visitors who will enjoy, quite literally, the fruits of our civic labor today – for generations to come."

The following is a list of the apple tree varieties that have been planted, which the Boston Tree Party’s pomologists identified as the most suitable for New England, and which are more naturally pest- and disease-resistant, Reynolds said.

West Seek-No-Further

Originated in Westfield, MA before 1796. An excellent dessert apple for fresh eating that also stores well. The medium-size apple has firm, crisp flesh with a wonderful, slightly acidic and complex flavor. Thick skin tends to be very muted yellow with some russet blush or stripes. Especially likes very well-drained soil, not heavy wet clay. Ripens in late September and early October.

Roxbury Russet 

Originated in Roxbury, MA in the early 1600s and thought to be the first named American apple variety. Medium-large greenish fruit mostly covered with russet. Famous for dessert and cider, ripens late in the fall and keeps in storage until late spring. Together with Baldwin and Rhode Island Greening, one of the big three commercial apples in New England for much of the nineteenth century.

Golden Russet

Uncertain origin but thought to be from England, New York, or New England. Grown throughout New York and New England for many generations. The champagne of cider apples ripens late in fall and keeps well into spring.  Also famous as a dessert fruit. Round medium-sized fruit with deep yellow golden russeted skin.

Wagener

Originated in Penn Yan, NY around 1791. A great all-around apple for eating fresh, baking, or making cider. Apples have thin, glossy green skin that can be flushed with red. White flesh is crisp and tender with some excellent tartness, somewhat similar to Northern Spy in taste. Harvest goes into late fall and stores well.

Baldwin

Originated in Wilmington, MA, about 1740. Also called Butters Apple or Woodpecker. Discovered on the Butters Farm by a surveyor planning the Middlesex Canal and noted as a favorite site for local woodpeckers. Massachusetts’ most famous apple. By 1850 Baldwin was the standard all-purpose home and commercial variety throughout New York and New England. Hard deep-red crisp juicy fruit ripens in late fall and keeps in storage until spring.

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