“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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Maple Lawn Farms – Life on the Farm

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Save the Date!

Pick-Your-Own Season is Coming with Blueberries June 25-26 & July 2-3 at Maple Lawn Farms!

Life on the Farm

Hey,

We sure have missed you! It seems so long between the last pumpkin leaves for home and the first fruits of spring, but the time is coming soon.

Cherries didn’t make it. Miraculously the farm’s fruit crops survived one of the most damaging late frost seasons in years. Blueberries, peaches, and apples are fine, but the cherries didn’t make it. I guess there just had to be one casualty, and this year, both sweet and sour cherries, were it.

But…

We are happy to announce our first-ever Blueberry Blitz Weekends! You are invited to TWO special, BIG pick-your-own weekends that will kick-off the rest of our fruit seasons.

Blueberry picking season this year will run Saturday June 25th thru July 26th, but we’ve got something special in store for the first two weekends.

The Great Blueberry Blitz includes Fruit & FUN for a $7 admission:

  • Train Rides for all ages in the blueberry patch ($7.00 VALUE!)
  • A FRESH Blueberry Sundae ($5.00 VALUE!)
  • 1lbs of PYO Blueberries FREE when you pick 5 or more pounds of blueberries! (3.75 VALUE!)

While you DO NOT need admission to pick-your-own berries, why not enjoy a family day of FUN?!

There’s more…

Miss Dee has been brainstorming new, blueberry treats to bake in the farm market. You’ll be able to get blueberry turnovers, blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry jam, blueberry syrup, even a new flavor of our world famous ringed treats – Blueberry Donuts!

And… July 2nd, we’re going ALL OUT with a FRESH Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at the farm market!

  • Get breakfast on the farm made with our own blueberries.
  • Use real maple syrup infused with gobs of our own blueberries.
  • Get sausage, coffee, tea or juice and you are powered up and ready for a morning picking in the patch! (LIMITED SEATING, please pre-register!)

But… we need YOUR help to spread the word and organize your friends and families to get those berries off the bushes.

Please forward this message or share our post on Facebook to help us spread the word. It’s going to be a TON of FUN and we can’t wait to welcome you BACK to the farm!

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July 2nd 8AM – 10AM

Come enjoy delicious freshly made with fresh blueberries blueberry pancakes! (it’s quite the mouthful)

Purchase your tickets by June 24th, and as a bonus for YOU save $2/ticket when you purchase today!

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Maple Lawn Farms: “Don’t wash your fruit”

Don’t wash your fruit! | Blueberries! | Peaches | Freeze Right
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3 Things to Know this Week:
  1. Blueberries, Blackberries, Apricots are PRIME! Early Peaches THIS WEEKEND.
  2. Fruit picking everyday Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM – Last Orchard entry hour before closing
  3. We’re social: Connect for updates on Facebook [CLICK HERE]
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Freezing is the easiest, if you do it correctly.
Life on the Farm: “Don’t wash your fruit… yet.”
We get this question all the time: “How do I freeze blueberries & raspberries?”
Here’s the plan:
  • DON’T wash the fruit.
  • Lay it flat, one level high on a tray.
  • Freeze it on the tray.
  • THEN put it in the bag.
Here’s why:
Don’t wash it – The water from washing the fruit will add moisture that, when freezing, will break down the structure of the berries. (Ever get frozen fruit out of a bag and it’s coated in ice crystals? That’s why.) You WASH the fruit, once you get it out of the freezer and are ready to use it!
Lay berries out flat – Freeze the fruit in a single layer high, so you end with individually frozen berries that are much easier to work with. If you freeze blueberries in a 1 gallon bag direct from fresh, you’ll end up with a 1 gallon “brick” of frozen berries when you try to use them.
Bag them last – Once the berries are individually frozen on the tray, then you can bag them. You’ll be able to pour out just enough berries for your recipes this winter without having to break off a hunk of “frozen blueberry brick”.
Raspberries & blackberries work the same way! Freeze individually.
Now, your action plan:
Get to the farm for the last two BIG weekends of blueberries and raspberries! We need you to pick the field clean and boy is it EASY picking! If you pick over 15 lbs of blueberries, the price goes down to $3.25/lb which is back to 2011 pricing!
We need you! Stock up, go home and freeze your berries so you can enjoy the farm all winter long.
See you soon on the farm,
Hugh
PS Even with freezing, my family never has enough for the winter – we eat too many! Stock up so you don’t run out this winter 🙂

Maple Lawn Farms: “Running with Flies.”

A Farmer’s Breakfast | Blueberries! | Apricots | Running
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One of my favorite ads from ad king Nike.
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This was my farmer’s breakfast treat, fresh blueberries in a fresh apricot. No, just enjoy!
Life on the Farm: “Running with flies.”
Analogy time: After my morning run, I concluded that life is like running… with flies.
Part 1:
I am not a runner. If you’ve ever met me, I’m 5-foot-nuthin’ with shoulders wide as a truck. I’m meant to pick up heavy things, not run. Still I persist in running because I live to play Ultimate Frisbee and I need to be competitive.
Here’s the life part:
I never wake up thinking, “Gosh, I can’t wait to get out there and run.”
Yet, I roll out of bed, lace up and go for it. Sheer mental determination and a look towards the next Ultimate game with the goal I’ll be a better, faster player.
Isn’t life like that? You always have to work hard to get ahead, sometimes without seeing results for your labor for weeks, months, even years.
The fruit business is like that. We plant trees and don’t see an apple for 4 years, yet still we care for the trees, mow, prune and hope.
It’s a mental discipline to keep working.
Part 2:
After all the mental victory to get out the door with my sneakers on, I run down the road, doing what I’m supposed to and suddenly, “Ouch!” A giant horse fly bit me in mid-stride! I was attacked for the next 300 yards hoping for the best case scenario, which would be smashing a gross, giant, biting fly on my head.
Now seriously, I’m out here exercising like I’m suppose to and I’m attacked by biting flies?! Something’s wrong with this picture.
The life part:
Isn’t that always the way? You get started working towards your goals and you meet resistance. You get annoyed along the way and you start to lose focus on your objectives. Biting flies are very distracting.
I’ll share with you a bit of small business person struggle. We work very hard on the farm and at the maze to make sure our guests feel comfortable. We don’t want you to see any struggles, but I’ll pull back the curtain on a few.
We’re working hard to expand the farm market and our business in a secret-for-now way (more on that later, stay tuned!) This expansion employees a dozen contractors, our employees, and we’ll end up added 5-10 part-time positions.
Great for the economy, right? We’re doing a brave, good thing, right?
We took off running towards our goal, only to be bitten by permitting delays, regulatory delays, 20 inspections, loan meetings, on and on and on. Bite, bite, bite.
It makes you wonder if it’s worth all the work to do good and grow!
Sometimes, pardon the very brief political rant, I think “It’s no wonder business is struggling in America. It’s super-hard to get started in business!”
Swat, swat, swat!
Of course it’s worth it! A few flies along the run don’t take away from the value of running, the good feelings at the end, the fitness, the victory, the growth in physical and mental toughness. Of course it’s worth it. Swat!
I kept running. I was going to have a few welts on me but, by God, I wasn’t going to stop. That’s just not who my parents raised me to be. It’s certainly not what the forefathers of this country envisioned. They envisioned a united people, ready to work hard once lifted from the hand of tyranny.
This week, keep running. Swat the annoying flies that are trying to distract you. Set your sights on goals, big and small, that light a fire in you, put one foot in front of the other and
just…
keep…
running…
Have a great week,
Farmer Hugh

Maple Lawn Farms: “Freedom Farmers”

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It’s time to share your best Red, White and Blueberry Dessert!
Blueberries! | Freedom Farmers | Zig Z | Arnold Schwarzenegger
3 Things to Know this Week:
  1. Blueberries are PRIME! [CLICK for more]
  2. Fruit picking everyday Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM – Last Orchard entry hour before closing – July 4th – 6PM
  3. We’re social: Connect for updates on Facebook [CLICK HERE]
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Life on the Farm – “Freedom Farmers.”

This July 4th, I’m reminded that my kids are totally tired of daddy’s “America Speeches”. I’m reminded that they need to hear them now more then ever. If I need to be a broken record, well fine. I don’t get tired of reminding myself that most everything we have is based in the uniquely American way of thinking.
It is more crucial than ever to make sure that we don’t forget what brought us this far and can can carry us into a bright future. It can also turn inward and self-destruct because we operate under a freedom principle so powerful, so free that we can use that principle of freedom to restrict ourselves; to limit our future.
I’ll share 3 ideas about freedom, and I suggest that just for a few minutes, you simple read and digest. Before you become overwhelmed with your natural internal reactions, just allow the ideas to sit and percolate a few minutes.
Farmers have had the right idea since the beginning of time. So, I propose on this Independence weekend, we all become Freedom Farmers.
Freedom Principle #1:
We, as free people, can think whatever we want to think.
How it works correctly:
Freedom of thought and being open to new ideas, the spread of ideas, the dissemination of information, rigorous debate and disagreement is central to our society.
Ever have a teacher who wouldn’t allow debate on a topic? If was his way or an “F-grade”. Debate, having-out ideas, working through the points and counterpoints of topics, criticizing the government, business, without fear of retribution is a sacred freedom we often overlook because it is embedded in the fabric of our society.
How it can go wrong:
Unfortunately, with all the positive attributes of this freedom of thought, you get some hate mongers and discriminators; some bad apples. It’s key for us, in an effort to eliminate bad apples, we don’t restrict our own positive ability to speak. In an effort to “muzzle” those negative voices, we set the stage for “someone” “somewhere” muzzling ANY voice.
How to live it:
It’s better to ignore a few hate-mongering losers then restrict everyone’s ability to speak. The power to ignore is often overlooked.
Freedom Principle #2:
Win or lose, we have the right to try.
How it works correctly:
I love the freedom to try. If I want to start a business, grow peach trees, launch an online seminar, sell produce in our CSA, help other farmers make mazes – anything! – I have the right to try. I also have the right to the profits and the right to own the failures. Fly or flop, it’s mine; it’s yours to try.
How it can go wrong:
Failure sucks. Believe me, as a farmer and a business man, I have failed countless times. The principle goes wrong if we look at the trauma of failure and feel that we have to act at all costs to prevent that failure.
Many government programs that were only meant to be a temporary stop over on the road of life through good times and bad have expanded to try to prevent any and all failures. Too much failure prevention, makes our great country soft. If you want a chance to own the profits of your labor, your ideas, your business plan, you have to be ready to own the potential failures.
How to live it:
If it was easy, everybody would do it. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “If it’s hard I want to do it more because that means I might be the first to do it.” He also said, “Your dreams only work if you do.” Take bold risks. Live out your dreams and work your butt off. We are in a time of unprecedented opportunity.
Freedom Principle #3:
Freedom is better together.
How it works correctly:
We Americans are fiercely independent. The stereotype is of a lone man or lone woman bootstrapping his/her way to the top of success, but that’s not what I’ve found to be the case. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
How it can go wrong:
Being free is not everything and everyone at all times being equally rewarded. I detest the “Everybody should get a trophy.” mentality. No. Hard workers should get trophies because they earned them.
How to live it:
Freedom loves company. On your personal quest, who is with you? Take your family on the journey, instead of ignoring them to work more. Take your employees on the journey and help them improve themselves along the way.
Freedom Farmers. Farmers live these principles and have for thousands of years.
#1 Farmers have to be free thinkers because they have problems to solve with crops and livestock everyday. Farmers also have one of the only industry wide networks to share growing information through the extension education system. They share ideas willingly knowing that all farmers benefit from a wealth of information.
#2 Farmers are often alone out there working hard, taking risks, growing food for themselves and to sell to the community to enhance their families’ way of life. There isn’t a riskier business then one in which you could lose your entire peach crop you’ve tended for 6 months in a single hailstorm the day before harvest. Or, your entire cattle herd could be swept away in a flood over which you have no control. Farmers complain a lot about the weather, but not about farming.
#3 Farmers work together. Farmer share information. Farmers include kids in chores. Farmers swap equipment, help each other put up hay, and hire neighbors to drive truck and bring in the harvest.
In 1960, the average American Farmer grow products to feed 25.8 other people. Today, the American Farmer feeds 155 people on average. We are growing to meet America’s needs and the world’s growing population.
In addition to all the food we get to enjoy, thank your local farmer for farming with freedom and integrity.
This beautiful nation needs more free thinkers.
We need more risk takers not afraid to try and willing to live with the results of their labor, win or lose.
We need more freedom makers; more people willing to lift others up and bring them along to the bright future we so deeply desire for this great land.
Have a great Independence Day,
Farmer Hugh