New Yorkers are in for an exciting addition to Governors Island this month. On April 29, which also happens to be Arbor Day, 102 fruit trees will be planted in what will be known as “The Open Orchard.”
Commissioned through Governors Island Arts, the orchard is seen as an art project and is being led by Sam Van Aken, a botanist and artist. There are 250 different fruit varieties that will be represented, all having been historically grown in New York in the last 400 years. Van Aken explained that the most challenging part of the project has been tracking down living samples of all the fruit types. He has successfully combined varied fruit types into a single tree via a special grafting process, enabling the different varieties to grow next to each other through hybrid trees. The 1.5-acre orchard will include nectarines, pears, cherries, plums, persimmons, apricots, peaches, and almonds.
In addition to its special landscape, The Open Orchard plans to be the host of various community events and programs. There will be culinary lessons, workshops, performances, fruit tastings, and eventually fruit picking.
The Open Orchard is arriving just in time for the beautiful spring weather and upcoming tourist season. Combined with the ferry ride, bike rentals, spectacular New York Harbor views, playgrounds, and so much more, a trip to Governors Island will make a perfect day out.