Modern Living: Rent-a-Tree

"Comfort me with apples," adjured Solomon, not foreseeing the day when they would cost 25¢ apiece at the supermarket. To put some of the comfort back into apple consumption, two young California entrepreneurs are providing a rent-a-tree service that allows city dwellers to raise all the fruit they can possibly eat and also enjoy the pristine pleasures of watching trees grow, blossom and yield.

At Buena Vista, their 13-acre orchard in the lush, apple-growing Russian River country 60 miles north of San Francisco, Attorney Jerry Abbott, 36, and Michael Martin, 35, a social worker, are leasing trees for between $25 and $150...