Pear tree endured for five generations of the Root family
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent
ALBION – Family heritage runs deep in the Root family, even when it comes to trees.
In 1945, Arnold Root was going to plant an apple orchard on his farm near Millville, when his wife Ellen “Nell” said she would like a pear tree.
Arnold agreed and planted one lone pear tree among the varieties of apple trees. For years, Nell picked and canned the pears.
Generations would pass; Arnold ’s son Pierson married Lorraine Webber of Medina and took over the farm; and since Pierson’s death, his sons Dale, Scott and Robin have run the farm.
Recently, Dale’s son Joe and his wife Kari started their own farm operation, called Heritage Roots. They purchased the old orchard and decided to cut down the apple trees to plant a new orchard of modern varieties.
However, Dale’s mom Lorraine , who will be 90 this year, wanted a picture of the family with the pear tree, so it was left standing until the snow melted.
On Mother’s Day in May, the tree, full of blossoms, stood out among the bare apple tree stumps when Dale , Lorraine , Joe and his son Barrett posed for a picture, with Lorraine holding a picture of Ellen. Absent from the photo shoot was Joe’s sister Jessica, who does office work for the farm.
Joe said even though the orchard was one of the oldest on the farm, Arnold always called it the “new orchard.”
Joe said it was amazing to see the apple trees up to two feet in diameter, while right in the middle of the orchard was this pear tree, a mere eight inches in diameter.
“It was always said if you plant a pear tree, you plant it for your grandchildren, as it is slow growing,” Joe said.
Joe said they decided to cut down the old orchard because the standard trees had gotten so large, the help didn’t like trimming or picking them. The new varieties are miniature trees and are much more productive, he said.
A back part of the orchard was kept with trees which Pierson planted in the 1980s. Joe said they plan to keep that while they work to build a new orchard.
“The old pear tree was the last of a dynasty, but Grandma knew things have to move forward,” Joe said. “And Pierson would have understood.”
Lorraine said it was an example of how one busy farmer had time to do something nice to please his wife.