Cummins Nursery was established in 1995. Dad (Dr. Jim Cummins) and I (son Steve) and Mom (Cindy) got the ball rolling. We started the nursery in Geneva, NY. Since then, Mom and Dad moved to Knoxville, TN and Steve moved to Ithaca, NY. The nursery now resides in Ithaca. Dad is still making crosses and Mom is still helping him make crosses. The rest of us take care of business at the farm.
The rest of us:
Tony- Without whom there would be no nursery
Alan- He answers all of your questions.
Waldo- He (and family) plant, sidelimb, bud, dig and prune. They are like the cavalry.
Greg-Always full of surprises
Tino-He answers all of the questions that Alan doesn't. If you ask him nicely, he will play you a song. Any song.
Owen-Do you need it fixed? Call Owen. Electrical problem? call Owen. Start the tractor, dig a ditch with the backhoe, build a website, design a brochure? Call Owen. Just don't put a baby in his arms, feed him onions, or make him play basketball. He is severely allergic to these things.
Steve- He redefined the word "We"
Tommy-(and Cramden) When not taking care of business at the farm, Tommy takes care of Cramden. He is a noble guy.
Below are blurbs from our first paper catalog:
In a small city by a lake in a land far far away lies a fruit tree nursery lost in a morning mist. That's us--Cummins Nursery.
For those of you who are not acquainted with Cummins Nursery.--We are a family- run nursery located just outside Ithaca, New York -- we are, literally, "High above Cayuga's waters". We have one of the best fruit-growing soils in the world -- Howard's Gravelly Loam--
Our specialty is Custom Grown Trees, 1 year grafts.
We are propagating the new disease-resistant Geneva apple rootstocks which my dad, Dr. James N. Cummins, helped develop during his long tenure at Cornell University's Geneva Experiment Station. Dad set his sights on a new repertoire of rootstocks resistant to crown rot and fire blight, to replace the old standby Malling and Malling-Merton stocks from England.
A typical summer day... After breakfast and a beautiful sunrise over Seneca Lake, Mom and Dad, the morning crew, head out to the nursery. They both go to work. Mom puts on her straw hat and cotton work shirt and begins sidelimbing where she left off the night before. Dad, always the boy scout, is prepared for every nursery eventuality. He has clippers, labels, ribbons, counters, knives, pencils, clipboard, markers, spade, hoe, and of course...coffee. One thing he doesn't have is a pager -- he is retired, you know! After 3 or 4 hours, it's time to head out to the lake for a swim and lunch. I suppose it's true, as you get older you get wiser.
Mom and Dad have discovered that it's hot in the afternoon. It's best to stay home . . . write letters, read, sail, swim, hot afternoon stuff. The night shift, as Mom and Dad have been dubbed, comes back to the nursery around 5 o'clock. After a liberal dose of mosquito repellent, it's back to work. They sidelimb, stake, label and trim....until it's just too dark to continue.
Fall finds our youthful crew still at it. Digging season is always full of surprises. Mom takes customer phone calls, and answers questions while Dad is helping me with the fall harvest. He hops on his 656 and pulls me on my Hi656 as we undercut the trees. He pulls me and pulls trees all day long. Winter is a nice time of year. Time to visit grandchildren. After 3 months though, the teenagers are getting antsy - they want to get outside. It's time to start a new season. The fields are plowed and fitted. The new water-wheel planter is hooked onto the little Ford; Mom gets on her side and Dad gets on his side. The Morning Crew and the Night Shift are at it again.
John, Peter, and Sarah ... John, Sharon, Esther, and April ... My brother John is currently working on putting Cummins Nursery into Cyberspace. We expect to be shipping trees through your computer screens soon. Peter, Nancy, Ellen, Owen, Isaac and Seth help out whenever they can. Sarah, Randy and Jesse ... I like to call my sister at odd hours. She knows that I only call when I need an answer to a troublesome question. She lets me think that I could have figured it out on my own. Randy and Jesse like to mow on the Ford.
Laura and Kayla ..... I was out working in the nursery this morning. It was cold, rainy and gray, and I was feeling kind of rainy and gray myself. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of Laura's trusty Honda. I looked up the hill and sure enough, here comes Laura. Streaking alongside, her ears flattened down for speed, is Kayla-the fastest dog alive. What an entrance!! Suddenly, my whole day is changed. It's not so gray out anymore, Laura and Kayla are here. We work, we talk, we entertain Kayla. Excitement!!!, bones, walks, other dogs, squirrels, people and trucks -- Kayla is all dog (wag, wag, wag). Silk scarves, wool hats, wood stoves, snow, greens, mobile cabins, artist, and best friend -- Laura is like no other. Nursery life would not be the same without them. They are definitely cool. Thanks Laura.
LITTLETREE ORCHARDS Purple Slides, Fun!!, Tango, Coyote Loco, Coops, Backhoe, Tractors, bird alarms, Teepees, Pyramids, A-frames, Gus, Samoyeds, Hop Chopi, Apples, Peaches, Plums, U-pickers, Army cake, and the Crimson morning room all combine to form Littletree -- A farm like no other in the world!! Gene Kim and Uncle Max formed the breakfast club this season. After breakfast, Max would assume his duties of Orchard Consultant, and Gene would resume his ongoing camera work chronicling the history of Littletree. Kristy exploded into October for a 4-day visit from North Carolina. October still hasn't recovered. Edgar was sorely missed this season. He was here in tape, personality disorders and all. Laura in her own quiet way added to the tapestry. The story of Chris and Bill continues..Sarah and Justine add new meanings to the word excitement and James, somehow manages to keep the whole movie playing.
The Jacyna's . . . Tad, Asia, Michal, and Adam. We had a great time together last year. Between sledding, teaching me 4 or 5 words in Polish, music, food, and Sandawe's, we managed to get a lot of work done. Dr. Jacyna, a nursery consultant now professing back in Poland, has been researching and developing techniques for suppression of spines in rootstock layer beds, and enhancing feathering in nursery trees. Asia, now living in NYC, was simply amazing. Sometimes she even beat the Morning Crew to the fields. Adam and I will break the 800 buds a day barrier. Michal managed to go to college, where he excelled, and work full time. Michal may be your lawyer some day.
Dennis, Wilton and Steve ... The Budding Crew. After Gene is done making a movie about Littletree, I hope he makes one about these guys. It could begin like this --- Dennis, who lives in an Audi, and Steve, who lives in a railroad station, have just had a cup of coffee and some scrambled eggs at the Waterstreet cafe. As they are leaving the diner, Dennis notices a rather nice, large cardboard box by the curb. He heads over to the box thinking to himself that Wilton could probably use it. Wilton, by choice, lives in cardboard boxes. His only furniture is a walkman and a bowling ball. He is an honor student and will more than likely be President some day. For some odd reason, Wilton loves cardboard. As Dennis approaches the box, it starts to move and makes sounds like no other sound on earth -- The sound of a bowling alley. Suddenly, the side "door" opens and out steps Wilton. He blinks a couple of times, looks up at the ceiling (sky) and then at the floor (ground) and then at us. "Hey Guys," says Wilton, "Come on in." He has completely redecorated his box. He has a full-sized bowling alley, a large screened TV turned to the Yankees, a CD stereo, and a swimming pool. "Cool," says Dennis. "Cool," says Steve. The day goes by quickly as the three eat sunflower seeds, watch old Yankees games and bowl. Much later, Wilton, the perfect host, hauls out a back seat from a car and props it up at an angle for Dennis' bed, and for Steve he has a yellow foam pad which he lays out on the floor. The scene ends with Wilton telling bad jokes.