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Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

The first fruit trees planted in the memorial orchard next to the Fortuna Garden Project will honor the memory of California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas R. Adams. Adams was killed in an automobile accident while on duty near Piercy in February of 2011.

With help from a number of community volunteers, the eight fruit trees donated by Adams' parents and grandparents were planted on April 13. Adams' father Bruce was one of the volunteers digging some of the holes in which the trees were planted.

”Thomas was an avid gardener,” said Bruce Adams, “and he was a big supporter of the community garden project ... from ground breaking to the fact that it will feed the people.” Bruce Adams and wife Karen decided the donation of trees to the memorial orchard was a fitting way to honor their son.

The eight trees planted were four Gravenstein apples (Thomas Adams' favorite fruit), two Bartlett pears, and two Santa Rosa plums. “The species selected are all suitable for the Humboldt growing climate,” said Fortuna Garden Project Coordinator Steve Padlecki.

Professional advice and assistance from Fortuna Feed and College of the Redwoods agriculture professor (and former manager of the CR farm at Shively) Franz Rulofson helped make sure the orchard got off to a healthy start. Both soil amendment and bone meal were added to the dark brown soil prior to the planting of each tree.

”We wanted this to be a memorial orchard so members of the St. Joseph Parish could donate trees in honor of a loved one,” Padlecki said.

All of the produce from the Fortuna Garden Project, including fruit from the orchard, will be turned into nutritious meals by the Fortuna Community Services Food Bank and the St. Joseph Pantry Shelf.

The 1.5 acre garden and orchard is located off Newburg Road on land leased from the Diocese of Santa Rosa and operates in partnership with Fortuna Adventist Community Services.

Photos by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

1) A Bartlett pear tree was planted to honor the memory of California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas R. Adams. Thomas' grandparents Joe and June Adams and his father Bruce Adams watch as College of the Redwoods agriculture professor Franz Rulofson plant the first tree in Fortuna's memorial orchard on Saturday.

2) Community volunteers Karen Parlato (left) and Joanne Center (right) put some muscle into digging holes for trees to be planted in the memorial orchard.

3) Bruce Adams, father of the late California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas R. Adams, readies the memorial orchard in Fortuna for planting on Saturday.