Tree of 40 Fruit and the Stone Fruit Orchard

The Tree of 40 Fruit is a stunning and unique work by artist Sam Van Aken. Van Aken’s process involves manipulating and transforming nature over time. In his Tree of 40 Fruit, he transforms host plum trees into sustainable pieces of art that live and grow as part of the environment. For the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, over a three year period, the artist is grafting 40 different stone fruit saplings onto one tree as part of his ongoing project. 

The artist has constructed his trees by grafting branches strategically so they blossom in a spiral pattern from bottom to top as the season progresses. The tree blossoms in different tones of pink, white, and crimson in Spring, later bearing a multitude of fruit throughout the Summer. As a form of conservation, it preserves native antique varietal fruits once grown in the region. 

Sam Van Aken, a professor of art at Syracuse University, was hosted by Lafayette College where he lectured on his process, research, and conservation work on Tree of 40 Fruit in 2016. During the artist’s visit, Lafayette College and members of the Easton community participated in the planting of the KSAT’s own Tree of 40 Fruit.

Van Aken plans to create entire orchards of stone fruit trees as a resource throughout North America to help reintroduce forgotten fruit varieties. Support trees were planted along the KSAT to form the Stone Fruit Orchard. The KSAT welcomes your contributions and involvement with this project in many ways; please visit our Support page for more information on how you can play an integral role in this work that combines art, nature and science.

Sam Van Aken’s 2016 visit was sponsored by the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Lafayette’s Environmental Engineering and Art Departments, Art Galleries, CaPA Scholarship, and Community Based Teaching programs.