Our year at the orchard begins this Friday when we open for our 36th season. Courtney and Vanessa have stocked the shelves, Sarah’s getting the kitchen organized and Tina has filled the wine rack. Devan has greens ready in the green house and is getting the garden planted now that the ground is warmer. Snowy white aprons are waiting for the bakers, the floors are gleaming with new surface and wood has been split for the fireplace.
Our Jamaican workers arrived last week. We’re always happy when they return. They are like family after all these years. They came a bit later this year, there wasn’t much they could do with the ground still deep in snow April first when they usually arrive.
We were relieved, once the record breaking snow depth had melted, that the trees survived without major damage. At times snow had almost completely buried the them. This was the first time we ever had rabbits nibbling on the tender tips of tree tops.
While the family here was struggling with the snow, Max and I were basking in the Caribbean sunshine but I spent a lot of time thinking about the orchard and our early days here.
In 1979 there was no bakery, no small fruit and no winery. There was one big barn, no other buildings and no ponds. We opened at the end of August selling apples, pears and cider. We were total novices at farming or running a business. We are good examples of people on a fast learning curve. It was a fun and at times, stressful, venture but when we open Friday we’ll once again be happy that our vision came true.

The back of the barn, 1979. Today the cider mill is here.

The back of the barn, 1979. Today the cider mill is here.

1979.  Today this photo would show the equipment barn, the animal barn and the pond.

1979. Today this photo would show the equipment barn, the animal barn and the pond.