“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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[Red, White & Blueberry] Personal Freedom, Local Loyalties.

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In 1775, the first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia, carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Cherries, Blueberries & Ice Cream!

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

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

July 4th, 2017:“Personal Freedom, Local Loyalties.”

I’ve been reading “Born Fighting” by James Webb, a look back at the history of Scots-Irish migration to, and contributions to America. As “Hugh McPherson”, you can’t get much more Scots-Irish that that, I was intrigued to learn more about my family’s heritage.

On this July 4th, I’ll share just 3 key ideas from the book that I believe apply to all of us, not only the Scots-Irish McPhersons, living in the greatest nation, not only in the world, but in history. These are the tent-poles of America’s success:

  1. Religious freedom. My ancestors were Scottish Presbyterians. Today, no one thinks of Presbyterians as a anything special or weird, but to the Catholic church and later the Anglican church, they were heretics to be persecuted. America is built upon, and today we must not lose sight of, the value of freedom of religion. Intolerance spawned battle upon battle in Scotland, Ireland and Great Britain splitting the [then] greatest country in the world. Let us not do it again, today.
  2. Personal freedom and a healthy distrust of government. The Scots were embroiled in an endless series of battles and wars. Emperor & King worked to subjugate Scotland all the way back to the time of the Romans. As a result, clan and family loyalties ran true and deep. No Scotsman trusted any government because every government had tried to enslave the Scots. We, too, need to have a strong, free press, a healthy distrust for government and resist the government’s control in our personal lives and choices today.
  3. Local loyalty. As the hard-bitten Scots-Irish, and many other immigrants, pushed ever-forward into the frontier lands, there were no services, often no towns and few roads. Families and neighbors had to stick together, work together and defend one another to survive in the harsh, untamed wilderness that was slowly becoming America. A decree from a far-off county seat was meaningless if you didn’t have enough food to make it through winter. Local loyalty, community, agriculture and a whole lot of faith built this country, one perilous inch at a time.

On this momentous celebration of our official Declaration of Independence, I hope you look both forward to the bright future that is surely possible, and back to the past events that have shaped this nation.

America has most certainly not gotten it right every time, but only America offers unparalleled opportunity to try, to fail, to succeed, to learn and to grow.

So, practice your religion freely, and let others do so as well.

Exercise the personal freedom to build your life in such a way as to shine light into the lives of others.

Maintain a healthy distrust of government and resist efforts to be controlled by central authority.

Work in your local community, buy from local farmers, run for local office and actively participate in America; this grandest of experiments, a beacon on a hill, whose wick was lit 240 years ago by the fire in those patriots yearning to be free.

Live freely, and God Bless America!

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