176: Cory Williams on Tropical Fruit Trees.
Growing a tropical fruit forest paradise in spite of a harsh climate.
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Cory lives in Chandler, Arizona and owns a video production company called Studio 9 Production. Prior to that, he spent 5 years in radio in Flagstaff, AZ, and 12 years on TV in Phoenix, as a Sports Anchor / Reporter for the local news channels. Cory got into farming and gardening after a trip to Napa Valley in Sonoma, California, about 15 years ago, at which time he was inspired to start growing his own grapes. Following that trip, every time he moved he planted more and more grapevines at each house. Until 4 years ago, when he and his wife purchased a home on an acre and a half.
As soon as they moved in, they started planting. He began by just focusing on gardening and some vines, and then over the last couple years, he’s jumped head-first into full-fledged tree farming. He now has over 150 trees, vines and fruiting plants, and he is proud to claim that he planted every one himself and maintains them all. Cory is happily married and they have four kids ages 6, 4, 2, and just welcomed a brand-new baby to their family.
In this podcast: Greg meets Cory, a man who could not take ‘You can’t do that’ for an answer. Cory has transformed his home just outside of Phoenix to his own tropical fruit forest paradise using micro-climates, observation, experimentation, and frankly ignoring naysayers. His interest started with a few wine grapes and he got bit by the growing bug as he now has over 150 trees on his urban property and is not done trying new things. His can-do attitude is infectious and you might have new goals after listening to this podcast.
- His trip to Sonoma Valley to learn more about grape vines and the realization of how beautiful they are
- His decision to start growing merlot grapes at his own home
- His move to Gilbert, AZ and the new varieties of grapes that he started
- Then his next home in Chandler and the 16 varieties of grapes including the local Arizona grape
- His work to create different micro-climates so he could expand his plants even further
- How he has 150 different trees on his property from many different climate zones
- His search to find interesting trees, bushes and vines to add to his property
- Connecting into the community of growers in the valley and both learning and teaching each other
- How he has a tremendous amount of horn melons growing in his yard after buying a melon at the store
- What a micro-climate is especially in Arizona with the huge temperature swings in the valley
- How a micro-climate can give protection from the extremes
- How he has coffee beans, pineapples growing and passion fruit growing year-round just outside his basement
- The 10-degree difference he has in his yard
- Why he has not made wine yet
- How grape varieties need different micro-climates
- Why grapes in Arizona are smaller than the ones bought in the store
- Why smaller grapes are better tasting than the larger ones and how stress helps
- The peanut butter fruit that he grows that tastes like the inside of a Resee’s peanut butter cup
- Why he loves to experiment and try new varieties
- Wine grapes in Arizona and how they are comparing to other regions
- How he is being smart about the watering of his plants and not wasting any
- How trial and error is essential for any gardening or orcharding
- What his land was 40-50 years ago, and how that is affecting his soils
- His harvest this year including Barbados cherries, the highest vitamin C fruit in the world
- Why he has plants producing all year round including the Jamaican Cherry also known as the strawberry tree that his kids think taste like cotton candy
- Other harvests including pecans, almonda, mangoes, miracle fruit, mulberries, basil, watermelons, sweet potatoes, goji berries, citrus
- His favorite fruits including the Mamay Sapotes (his description is mouthwatering!)
As well as:
- His failure – He just considers the failures as learning opportunities not failures, and some great advice on dealing with challenges
- His success – growing things he could not find in the stores and learning more about those items
- His drive – when people tell him he can’t do something and proving that he can, also becoming more sustainable, and the beauty and reward of the plants growing in his yard
- His advice – Pay attention, it is not rocket science. Read up and find out what climates things like. Try things in the pot in the location you are planning for them and watch to see what happens. Pay attention. Pay attention.
How to reach Cory:
Facebook: Tropics of AZ