Pine Knot News - A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

REACH Mentoring Program

By Jana Peterson
Pine Knot News 

Wanted: Donations

Then he’ll plant apple trees for free


May 10, 2019

Cloquet’s Matthew Krikava has loved apple trees since he was a little boy and his grandparents would put him and his sisters in the bucket of their backhoe so they could pick apples.

“We would just fill the bucket with apples,” Krikava said in an interview last month.

Fast-forward about 20 years to when Krikava decided he wanted to spread the joy of the apple tree. He was chatting with a friend, and told him he was thinking of getting an apple tree for his front yard. The friend pointed out that everyone would be better for having one.

“He was so right,” said Krikava, a 2016 Cloquet High School graduate. “It’s not only a tree for air, but it has flowers for pollination so that’s good for insects and bees. It makes apples, which are good for people and any critters that eat them.

“In the end, the apple is a giving tree. It really is all-around good.”

So he started a Facebook fundraiser, promising if people would donate money to buy the trees, he would plant them at no charge.

“I shared it with friends, asked them to share, and it just kind of bloomed across Facebook,” Krikava said. “We even had a donation from Britain for $50 and one from India for $5. I was reaching people I never thought I would reach for a small local project.”

Last year he raised $210, enough for seven trees from Gussendorf Nursery in Hermantown.

Although most of last year’s trees went to various private properties that will share, he’d really like to plant some this year on a main road where there is foot traffic, and on public space, in places where it can make a difference.

Veterans Park would be ideal, he said. Or by the beehives at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Or at one or all of the schools in town.

“It would be a beautiful thing to walk up and grab an apple, whether for a snack or meal, and just eat it,” he said.

Private citizens are welcome to apply for a tree, but they should expect to go the extra mile.

“I’ve been asking people to do something charitable like sell applesauce at bake sales, or donate to someone who needs it,” he said. “And if someone walks in your yard to pick an apple, you don’t shout at them, because it’s a community tree.”

He doesn’t mind being known as the Johnny Appleseed of Cloquet. It’s a labor of love for apples and his hometown, Krikava said.

“If the community wants to pay for trees, I’m willing to go out and do the work to plant them.”

To donate, search for the “Plant trees Save bees” fundraiser on Facebook, or email [email protected] or call his cell phone at 218-485-1443.


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