Visit decorated homes, and farm & winery

Live HGTV instead of watching it! The Mason-Dixon Library Holiday Home Tour is this weekend. THIS Saturday, you can tour real, decorated homes, churches and more while supporting the local library. Read more below….

Call the library direct at (717) 993-2404 to reserve your advance tickets, Hugh!

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Uh, no. The tour is not of garish light displays, though Farmer Hugh LOVES garish light displays. The Holiday home tour is THIS Saturday, December 2nd from 12-5pm. Tour Five Residences, Muddy Creek Forks Village, Prospect UMC and Quaker Meeting House.

HGTV?! See the real thing. Touring houses supports the local library.

Hey,

I grew up reading books. The Mason-Dixon Library in Stewartstown is one of our local favorites. Every Christmas Season, the library recruits local home owners to open their homes for the Holiday Home Tour.

Do you watch HGTV? My wife sure does, and she LOVES the Home Tour. With your ticket, you get to visit real homes in person to see the decorations and the architecture.

Along the way, you might need a break and a pit stop, so swing into the farm market for some treats, and the winery for some shopping and tasting.

Here’s the plan for the weekend:

#1 – Reserve your tickets to the Mason-Dixon Holiday Home Tour IN ADVANCE and explore local homes to enjoy the decorations. The tour is Saturday, December 2nd from 12-5pm.

#2 – Swing into the farm market for a bakery treat & a fancy coffee. Maple Lawn Farms & bakery is open Saturday 12-5 and Sunday 1PM-5PM. See more on Facebook CLICK HERE->>

#3 – Maple Lawn Winery is open Saturday 12-5 and Sunday 1PM-5PM. Wine is the perfect gift for people who already have everything. Grab a 4-pack of our flavorful wines, plus a 4-pak of hard cider for you!

#4 – Get your tree! Jarrettsville Nurseries is open November 24th through December 22nd Weekends 9AM – 5PM, Weekdays 10AM – 5PM. [CLICK HERE: See Jarrettsville Nurseries on Facebook]

They have a new pre-cut tree area up high in the woods on the farm called “The North Pole”. You take a FREE hayride to “The North Pole” to select from the trees cut’n’ready-to-go!http://www.jarrettsvillenurseries.com/

PLUS, The Maize Quest Trackless Train is running on the weekends at the Christmas Tree Farm, and Maple Lawn Farms bakery treats are available at the tree farm as well!

There’s a lot going on in the community this weekend as we get closer to the holidays, so get out and enjoy it!

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

Ginny’s White Peach Specialty

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Doc & Ginny were characters of my early childhood.Around the time I was 2-5 years old, Mom & Dad would drop us off with Ginny to babysit as they attended one meeting or another. The treat was when Ginny had made some of the rarest preserves I’d ever tasted – White Peach Preserves.

The kicker was she’d add just a few maraschino cherries and we kids would hope to high heaven that they came out on our slice when we had bread, butter & jam.

Ginny’s recipe is lost to time, but here a moderately close example and link to a more modern blogger version of White Peach jam. CLICK HERE–>
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Maple Lawn Farms


Hey Hugh,

What is it about those formative memories that makes them so vivid? You can probably remember something like Ginny cooking fresh white peach jam from your early years, but more than remember it… you can feel it.

I’m fascinated by the brain, memory and learning, so I like to ‘nerd-out’ on podcasts such as Science Friday & Tim Ferris. The farm is full of opportunities to enrich our life experience, because the farm activates so many different senors in the brain.

This weekend, if you’ve never tried a fresh peach, or fresh white peach, off the tree while standing in the orchard listening to the sweet nothing of the unspoiled countryside, you are about to have your brain and your memories put on overdrive.

I live here every day, and still, I soak up new memories, learn new things, discover new nooks & crannies of the farm, new flavors each and every morning.

Then, we open the gates to you.

See you at the farm,

Farmer Hugh

Fly-over the Sunflowers at Maple Lawn Farms

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 Click on Picture to Watch Drone Fly Over

Full Details:

Maple Lawn Farms Sunflower & Peaches Weekend

Who:

Maple Lawn Farms, Maple Lawn Winery & Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park

What:

The farmers at Maple Lawn Farms planted 5-acres, or approximately 5 football fields of sunflowers. In one section, it’s planted full of the classic yellow sunflowers that will mature at about 5 feet tall. In another 2 acres, visitors get to see 10-12 different varieties that display the wide spectrum of sizes and colors in ornamental sunflowers.

Why:

“Sunflowers are symbols of positive thoughts, feelings and create a happy atmosphere,” says Hugh McPherson, Maize Quest’s Mazemaster. “They connect with people, and we want people to connect with farming on a personal level.”

When: Maple Lawn Winery Sneak Preview Event: Friday Aug 11, 2017 5PM-9PM

General Public Admission: Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Last ticket allowed ONE HOUR before closing. Fields closed at listed hours.

Details: The Sunflower Festival is an experience. All guests park at the farm market. Each ticket includes a wagon ride to the field of sunflowers. Guests spend as much time taking pictures, exploring around the field, and reading informational signs as they like. Each ticket includes one ‘stem’ or LIVE cut sunflower.

Parking is FREE.

After exploring the sunflowers, guests may enjoy ice cream, donuts, pies, fudge, cookies and more from the bakery and farm market. Food trucks are on site for lunch, snacks and dinner. Maple Lawn Winery is open for tastings and shopping Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM for guests over 21 years old.

Winery Sneak Preview Details: Friday Aug 11, 2017 5PM-9PM, Maple Lawn Winery is hosting a VIP wine tasting, LIVE music and food truck event. This event will be the FIRST opportunity to visit the Sunflower Fields via wagon ride, and is limited to 250 guests over 21 years old (I.D. required).

Maple Lawn Winery will be open for wine tastings and our outdoor event area offer space to enjoy dinner from the food trucks and beverages from the winery and local breweries while listening to live music.

Ticketing disclaimers: Ticketing is limited and MUST be purchased online to ensure admission to the event. Due to our capacity, we are strictly limiting ticket sales BY DAY to ensure every guest gets plenty of pictures in the sunflowers.

NOTE: Sunflowers are an agricultural crop and therefore subject to weather, growing conditions and ripening variables. We cannot guarantee that the sunflowers will bloom on a particular date, so prepare to be flexible by 7-10 days in your visit.

Stay tuned on Facebook. for up-to-the-minute plans. The event is an outdoor event and therefore held weather permitting. Should a complete crop failure arise, tickets will be exchanged for Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park tickets OR a Maple Lawn Winery upcoming event OR for Maple Lawn Farms fruit and merchandise certificates. NO cash refunds.

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Pap-pap loved him some Burgundy Peaches

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He could pare a peach and keep the skin in a single piece.Pap-pap, as my kids called him, or Grandpa, as me and my sisters called him, was Alfred Spory. Grandma Evelyn and Al were quite a pair and they loved canning peaches. My kids only got to do it a few times before Pap-pap passed away, but what fun times they were.
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Maple Lawn Farms

Burgundy Peach Weekend:

Hey,

Pap-pap preferred Burgundy peaches. Because Burgundy peaches resist browning when you cut’em, which means you have more time to get them in a can, and this is Burgundy Peach Weekend.

This is always the week I think of Pap-pap and those canned peaches. Mason jars stacked neatly with peaches magically levitating off the glass bottom.

If you’d like memories like that, this is your week. Burgundy Peaches are in for this weekend and they ALWAYS sell out.

Here’s the game plan:

  1. Get a friend – Many hands make light the work, as Grandmother Mabel used to say.
  2. Stage the home with good counter top space.
  3. Get to the farm.
  4. Pick 2-4 baskets per family / couple.
  5. Sample a juicy peach in the orchard.
  6. Head back to the home with the counters.
  7. Turn on some music, relax, talk, share, pare and prepare the peaches.
  8. Can like crazy…

…and in ONE DAY, you can have peaches to last the winter!

I know ‘people don’t can anymore’, but since when did we tell our children to be like everybody else?!

Be a rebel. Can some peaches with your friends, dang it. Pap-pap would have loved to help. He loved him some Burgundy Peaches :-)

See you at the farm,

Farmer Hugh

PS Need a tutorial?[CLICK HERE] Watch this video (you can tell this guy just loves peaches:-), it’s close to the way we did it with Pap-pap. Pap-pap really liked to dice the peaches for 3/4 of our canning, then do a few peach halves at the end. Enjoy!

PPS Note we DO NOT cook the peaches before paring – Keep it FRESH! Many videos online show pre-cooking, but just use tree-ripened peaches and you don’t need to pre-cook them.

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RedStar Peaches are ready, come & get’em

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Great News: Peaches are HERE! RedStar peaches, a delicious, semi-freestone peach on on the trees and ready to pick for the weekend. We also have Eastern Glo Nectarines and Blueberries – Make an efficient trip and get ALL THREE!
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Maple Lawn Farms

Peach Season begins!

Dad brought in a peachy treat from the orchard and, like a tsunami, once one peach was ready, we now have boxes and boxes off to our wholesale customers and lots to pick for YOU, our guests!

Peach season is here, and if you haven’t before tasted a fresh, juicy peach from the tree, ooooooooh, mommy, you are missing out.

They are SO juicy, that Miss Dee chased me out of the market with a broom because I was dripping on her floor. [CLICK to SEE VIDEO on Facebook Page]

Peaches are ready!

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

Giant Apple Rising Event Friday July 28th

Be a part of history as Maple Lawn Farms mounts the largest apple in the tri-state area on the roof of the farm market LIVE, New-Year’s-Eve-style with music food and fun!
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Maple Lawn Farms

Friday July 28, 6PM-9PM

Apple Rising Event: We’re putting the GIANT Apple on top of the Farm market LIVE, New Year’s Eve Style!

PLUS: Food Trucks, Peach & Cherry Wine Slushies

and LIVE Acoustic Music!

I saw it from across the room at a farmer conference in Connecticut over the winter. I knew it was something special and I knew it had to come to Maple Lawn Farms.

It was a GIANT, red apple.

FAST Corporation from Sparta, Wisconsin fabricates custom shapes from fiberglass and this big, juicy apple was calling my name.

It was love at first site.

The last time you visited, you might have noticed that we’ve really been investing in creating a comfortable patio, building our winery tasting room, lettering and painting and so much more to improve the farm market you know and love.

Dad’s a little tired of all the money we’ve poured back in, but I came home from Connecticut with just one more ‘cherry’ to put on top.

uh…. I mean apple….

Anyway…the apple is here. It’s in the back of the market at ground level for just 10 more days or so for you to take a picture before we make history and install it on the roof.

Yes… on the roof of the farm market.

Won’t you join us? Save the date, next Friday, July 28, 5-9PM with the apple placement happening right around 6:30PM.

It’ll be a family friendly event with ice cream, peaches, donuts, LIVE music, a food truck, and space to enjoy on the patio.

We’ve got our contractors bringing a GIANT lift to hoist the GIANT apple onto the peak of the roof LIVE as we count down and toast the newest addition to our farm market; to your farm market.

The winery will be debuting the new outdoor event space as well, so if you are into that, we’ll have tastings and wine by the glass in that area as well.

Best news: It’s a FREE Event (We just ask that you register so we know how many donuts to make:-), so swing by the action, grab some snacks, dinner or dessert from the market and watch Maple Lawn Farms, your farm, make history as we place the biggest apple in three states…

…on the peak; right where it belongs!

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

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https://www.facebook.com/maplelawnfarms/videos/10155551379609293/

“Horses to Horsepower”

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Farm safety in the 1920’s, my Grandmother and Aunt Lindy got to “ride the scoop” as they dug the barn foundation.

Last Chance for Cherries!

What a great cherry season, but with this rain it will be the final cherry picking weekend. Blueberries are VERY plentiful, picking is more like ‘milking’ the berry bushes and your box fills quickly, just like your freezer should!

Blueberries in the Patch, Nectarines & Ice Cream in the Farm Market

Orchard & Market Hours: Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Winery Hours: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

“Horses to Horsepower”

My Grandmother Mabel McPherson and her sister, Aunt Lindy, had a big hand in raising us. Any time my parents were off to a convention or late meeting, my two sisters and I would go over to Grandmother’s house to spend the night.

On one of these occasions, they told us the story of “riding the scoop”. The Slip Scoop or Fresno Scraper was the excavating tool of the day. Apparently, the girls were allowed to ride the scoop back empty, once the dirt had been dumped. The barn for which the foundation was being dug, still stands at the old Anderson Homestead to today.

Wow. ONE horsepower. One scoop the size fit for two little girls to ride in back in the 1920’s. Oh, how times have changed. By the time Grandmother and Aunt Lindy were taking care of me, we already had a tractor producing 150 horsepower, and now we top 208 horsepower in our John Deere 8130 that weighs in at 25,000lbs! (Our backhoe could have dug the barn foundation in less than a day.)

That’s not that long ago. Think about the changes you’ve seen in your lifetime. In the 1920’s 30% of America’s workforce was working in agriculture. In 2008, less than 2% of the population works in agriculture and the U.S. is still a net exporter of food; we feed ourselves and the world.

What does all that mean? In less than 100 years, we’ve moved as an agricultural industry from horses to horsepower, freed up 28% of the population to be productive elsewhere in the economy, AND feed ourselves, plus export our surplus food stuffs to the world.

Let’s face it, farmers are amazing!

As YOUR local farmer, we need you to participate in the next wave of agricultural innovation: Direct Marketing. Direct marketing means that you come to the farm to get the freshest, bestest fruit and cut out the middleman.

Interestingly, if we were focused solely on producing the maximum tonnage of fruit per acre, we would CLOSE OUR DOORS to the public and meticulously harvest each tree ourselves. (Ever seen apples on the ground during October? Sure, that’s because kids and families are in there experiencing the harvest – they just can’t possibly be as careful picking as we might be with our trained crew.)

NO PICK-YOUR-OWN on the FARM?! What fun would that be?!

Maple Lawn Farms likely seems really big when you visit, but in the grand scheme of agriculture, we are a small local farm. Small local farms need guests like you to enjoy the fruit we produce directly from the blueberry bushes and peach trees and cherry trees.

You see, back when Grandmother was “riding the scoop”, all agriculture was local. In the process of 100 years of change from horses to horsepower, the importance of local agriculture and local customers is the one thing that stayed the same.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

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Life on the Farm: “Thankful for Cherries”

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Each year at the farm, we inevitably have some form of disaster. Last year it was that nasty, early frost on our cherry blossoms. The result: NO Cherries.

I personally was super-bummed by that, because sweet cherries are my favorite thing in the world! I have a bit of a tart cherry obsession as well, (which you can join me in as we now carry Tart Cherry Juice concentrate in the farm market!)

Anyway, this year we had a real scare on the peach blossoms, but the peaches survived! This year we have LOTS of sweet cherries.

Best news? They are ready! Well, they will be next Wednesday.

Soooooo, if you’ve been missing us as much as we’ve been missing you…. and we’ve all been missing cherries for A YEAR….

…then you should come on over and pick cherries with us!

Miss Dee will even have some Cherry Donuts on Saturday June 17th, and that will be the PRIME season kick-off.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

Holiday Pies Today – “New Celebrations & Local Farms”

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Pick-up Holiday Pies at Maple Lawn Farms. Winery OPEN for last minute shopping, too. Call ahead for for Dee to bake them 717-382-4878.

Farm Market, Bakery & Wine Tasting Room


Directions LINK: CLICK Get to the Farm NOW

Farm market OPEN: Wednesday Nov 23 Exclusive Hours 11AM-5PM Holiday Pies, Dumplings & More , Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Bakery: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Wine Tasting & Sales: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

More on the Winery: www.MapleLawnWinery.com

Hey,

Whew. Harvest season really takes it out of us. We strain under the effort to get it all done; to host all our guests; to harvest all the apples. Then, it is over and a hush falls over the farm.

Combines finish corn harvest. Final fruits are picked. The Fun Park is winterized and packed safely away. And it is quiet.

Quiet sounds good and, in fact, it feels good, too. Neglected tasks at home are slowly brought right. Family dinners once again commence each night kid’s activities allow. We fire up the pellet stove.

It is quiet.

Farmer Hugh can enjoy all that peace and quiet… for about 2 weeks. Then, once recovered hours of sleep catch up, it’s on toward new celebrations and it is those celebrations I share with you today.

First, thanks to you and your patronage, the winery’s very first year has been a success. Winemaker Matt & I have been working feverishly to replenish supplies of Apple Cider, Apple Blossom Wine, Peach Blossom Wine, and we’re adding a new product we hope to release before Christmas. So, Thank You!

Second, for the first time ever, we are keeping the Farm Market and wine tasting room open through December 18th. Every Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM you can shop BOTH for gift baskets, Miss Dee has really made some nice things, and gifts of wine for holiday dinners, parties and gifts.

Third, we are continuing the entertainment at our local farm friends’ Christmas Tree Farm with Train Rides each Saturday 10AM-5PM & Sunday 1PM-5PM, plus a special day of fun Black Friday 10AM-5PM. It all happens at Jarrettsville Nurseries at Holy Cross Rd in Harford County, MD (about 10miles from Maple Lawn Farms).

Let me share a little story about Jarrettsville Nurseries. For years now, our Pumpkin Express wagon and hayride wagon have been hauling guests out to the Christmas Trees for the Saulsbury family. It worked out perfectly – We had giant wagons and a tractor we weren’t using in December, the Saulsburys had an extra tractor they weren’t using in October. In the spirit of cooperation, we annually pull a switch-a-roo. Great fit, right?

Boyd Saulsbury, the patriarch at the tree farm, connected with me and we’ve been trading tractors for years. Heck, one year, my wagon came back with a new wooden deck Boyd had repaired as a surprise ‘thank you’. Eventually, Boyd asked us to bring down our bakery products and fresh donuts, which we still do each year.

About seven months ago, after a long battle with cancer, Boyd passed away. As is often the case, it is a trying time with a lot of soul-searching to determine if the farm can, and if the family can, continue without the lost leader.

Many you know that my mother, Gail, passed away back in 2005 and we had a long road to recovery. So, when Dana, wife of Boyd, sons Tom and Brandon, and daughter Ellie determined they wanted to continue the Christmas Tree Farm, well, we are all in to help them succeed.

So, friends, if you need a Christmas tree and would like an enjoyable family event to get one, we recommend you visit our friends and fellow local farmers the Saulsburys at Jarrettsville Nurseries at Holy Cross Rd. I know you can get a tree pre-cut other places, but, just as you take the time to visit us for the freshest fruit, give choose & cut Christmas Trees a try this year.

When you visit, take an extra 5 minutes to simply stand on their beautiful tree farm, breathe the fresh piney air, and enjoy. Just as you enjoy our farm in the Fall, make a new celebration this holiday season at another, local, family-owned farm.

Have a great week. We are thankful for all of you!

Farmer Hugh

Life on the Farm – “Seasonal changes – A farmer looks back.”

 
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Everything has its season and the Maize Quest Corn Maze and Fun park season ends this Sunday. Sure, we’re tired from working seven days a week for a month and a half, but it’s always sad to see it end. We checked in our last big school tour this morning and it hit me – Soon the fields will grow quiet again.

I work best in bursts. I guess it’s the farmer in my DNA, but I work best seasonally. Unlike a battery that gives power slowly and continuously, I’m more of a capacitor -> I get charged up and put out full power for a short period of time, then end completely exhausted.

Are you a battery or a capacitor? Neither is better, each is different.

I like the high-energy, “It’s Go Time!” mentality of Harvest season, but even your Mazemaster needs time to recharge, so it’s now that I get reflective on the joys of the harvest.

Here are some of the notes from this season on the farm:

Early Spring was a roller coaster of warm days and cold-snaps. The cherries and apricots were completely killed by frost and some of the peaches for damaged. Not a great start to the year, but fortunately, blueberries and apples emerged unscathed.

Spring had Winemakers Matt & Hugh stymied by challenging cherry and blueberry fermentation. If not for our network of winemakers and a lot of extra work, Cherry Blossom wine might not exist!

Corn & pumpkin planting went very well and was followed by a lot of rain, great start! Drought-like conditions took hold in August and early September stunting the total yield on corn and pumpkins.

As we worked into early October, welcoming our usual Harvest Festival guests turned into a job of dodging rain drops in those first weekends of October, but Pennsylvania weather is always changing and brought gorgeous sunny weekends in this middle to allow guests comfortably to the farm.

As we come to the end of the Fall Fest season, we have had a run of unseasonably nice weekends and are thankful for it. Even this final weekend in November, looks clear and bright with lovely Fall temps.

Farmer Matt (he kinda does it all) is finishing harvesting field corn and soybeans now, and the fruit picking crew is finishing up apple harvest. Soon we’ll be cleaning up and storing equipment away to hunker down for the winter, but…

…NEW for 2016, the farm market, bakery and wine tasting room will remain OPEN Saturdays 12-5PM & Sundays 1PM-5PM through Dec 18th, INCLUDING Black Friday 12PM-5PM!

That means YOU can get your bakery favorites and shop the farm market, then head over for wine tastings ( if you are over 21, of course.) Miss Dee will even take your orders for Thanksgiving Day pies for pick-up Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

So, why not head to the farm one last time for the maze season, then don’t forget us for your holiday shopping. The Fall Fest season might be coming to a close this Sunday, but you can stay connected to your farm friends for a few extra weekends.

When I try to look back and capture the season in a few paragraphs, it seems to slip through my grasp. So many tasks, so many interactions, so many challenges, so many hassles, so many wonderful moments – when I try to quantify it, it slips away. The only answer if to feel it, to feel and consider all those moments as a whole and big complex system you can’t understand, but you can feel. It’s overwhelming; it’s overwhelmingly joyful.

Thank you so much for your loyalty to our family’s farm. It is a joy to serve and entertain you each and every season. While I personally might need a little time to recharge, I guarantee I’ll never be short on energy when you’re here