Fruita Orchards, Capitol Reef National Park

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Orchards

Capitol Reef National Park will surprise visitors with fruit laden orchards located a couple of miles from the Visitor's Centre. The hundreds of fruit trees planted by the doughty pioneers yield fruit to this day while bearing silent testimony to a vibrant page in history. If these trees of Fruita could talk.

You may have heard Sting sing of roses in the desert sun somewhere in Egypt. If he'd looked in his backyard he'd have been amazed by the apples and cherries waiting to be plucked in the orchards of Fruita, smack in the middle of the Utah desert. The Capitol Reef National Park is where yin and yang meet. The craggy crevices and hard cliff faces are complemented by the luscious peaches, the juicy apples, and the succulent plums. Imagine biting into a ripe, juicy fruit after a tiring trek across the barren desert. Now you'll begin to appreciate why the pioneers' thoughts ran to orchards, rather than raising cows as was more customary.

The Mormons who arrived in the early 1800s found the banks of the Fremont quite fertile and their thoughts turned to cultivation. Soon about six different varieties of apples, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, and even grapes and nuts bloomed, blossomed and bore fruit. About 22 orchards spread over 300 acres might not seem a big deal by modern standards; but it kept those pioneer families happy and fully occupied.

Today it is maintained as a historic landscape under the National Park Service. The trees continue to yield fruit that somehow tastes sweeter and better here at Fruita than anywhere else. You can eat as much as you want while you're here. You can even take some with you at supermarket prices at the self check-outs at the entrance.