Friends of Piper’s Orchard host ninth annual Festival of Fruit

The Friends of Piper’s Orchard invite the community to join them in celebrating Carkeek Park’s historic orchard from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. Events will include cider pressing and tasting, live music, an apple pie contest, activities for kids, guided tours of the historic orchard and more.

The event takes place at and around the Nancy Malmgren Environmental Center, 950 NW Carkeek Park Road. Visitors are encouraged to park below the learning center. Volunteers will be directing guests.

This event is free and open to the public. Activities will include:

  • Informational presentations: Presentations on historic orchards and fruit varieties featuring Sam Benowitz (Raintree Nursery) and Adam Wargacki.
  • Apple pie contest: Back by popular demand – bring a contest entry by 9:30 a.m. and buy a piece of contest pie after the winners are announced.
  • Apple identification: Bring apples from your home orchard for variety identification.
  • Fresh pressed cider: Visitors are encouraged to try out making cider the old-fashioned way, with a fresh cider press.
  • Homemade pie: Visitors are welcome to donate homemade pies. Fresh warm cider and slices of pie will be available for a nominal cost, with proceeds to support ongoing maintenance of the orchard.
  • Live music: Talented musicians will provide live music during the festival.
  • Orchard tours: Expert volunteers who have painstakingly restored the orchard will lead tours, pointing out the heirloom varieties that are going strong as well as younger trees and newly planted grape vines.
  • Apple tasting: Visitors will have the chance to taste heirloom apple varieties that are grown in the orchard.
  • Kids’ crafts: Little ones will enjoy organized arts and crafts activities.
  • Wildlife habitat demonstration garden tour: Following presentations and the apple pie contest, a tour of the gardens near the Environmental Learning Center will be offered.

For more information, please call 206-784-0877 or visit

The Friends of Piper’s Orchard is a group of dedicated volunteers who rediscovered and then rescued the historic North Seattle orchard from invasive plants. The annual Festival of Fruit raises awareness and funds to help the volunteers support the orchard, originally planted in the 1890s.

The Festival is sponsored by Friends of Piper’s Orchard, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and City Fruit.


Seattle author turns orchard into poetry

“HEIRLOOM” art installation project in Piper’s Orchard, photo by Shin Yu Pai

Stenciled apple in Piper’s Orchard, photo by Thendara Kida-Gee

You’ve probably spread a blanket out beneath a tree to read, but you’ve probably never read a tree.

This summer, author and artist Shin Yu Pai stenciled words onto hundreds of apples in Carkeek Park’s Piper’s Orchard. Shin Yu encountered the orchard numerous times on her hikes down to the beach and thought it would make an interesting location for public art. She took a tour of the orchard with a resident apple expert with her 10-month-old son in tow, and said she was inspired by his reaction to the trees.

Installing stencils on apples in Piper’s Orchard, photo by Shin Yu Pai

Shin Yu wrote a 26-section poem titled “HEIRLOOM” that captures the things she wishes she could tell her son about the land and the trees and serves as a guide to orchard visitors. She took words from the poem and created stencils to cover the apples with at the beginning of the season. As the apples ripened in the sun, the stencil words remained green.

Shin Yu has faced challenges with her project, such as heavy rain storms, picking and rot, but said she enjoys seeing the new developments in the orchard.

“I invite the public to collaborate with me and help with being apple stewards,” Shin Yu said. “Visit the orchard often and take pictures of the daily changes. Save the stenciled apples that fall from the trees and remove their stencils. Take pics and email them to me at”

Shin Yu will be leading guided tours of her installation at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. For more information on her project, and to hear a reading of “HEIRLOOM,” visit

“HEIRLOOM” is part of the outdoor exhibition Propagation: Heaven and Earth 7. The project was supported, in part, by an award from 4Culture, funding from Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and The Awesome Foundation.


SHIN YU PAI is the author of several poetry collections, including AUX ARCS (La Alameda, 2013), Adamantine (White Pine, 2010), Sightings (1913 Press, 2007), and Equivalence (La Alameda, 2003). She has exhibited her visual work and collaborations at The Three Arts Club of Chicago, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, International Print Center, Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College, 516 Arts, The Ferguson Gallery at The University of Alabama, The American Jazz Museum, Harvard University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. Her work has been commissioned twice by the Dallas Museum of Art. For more information, visit