“Horses to Horsepower”

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


Maple Lawn Farms: “Cha-Cha-Changes”

Cherries are PRIME! | Farm Life Lessons | CSA | David Bowie
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Repairs to the packing house include removing the side of the building temporarily!
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Life on the Farm – “Cha-Cha-Changes”

“Time may change me, but I can’t waste time”.- David Bowie. I don’t know what’s with all the song inspirations, but I thought about this as we are installing downs, rebuilding the side of the packing house, planting and replanting trees, refinishing the kitchen.
It’s just a bunch of cha-cha-changes.
How do you respond to change?
Fight or resist. This is a natural response to change – external forces try to make you do what’s new or different. You resist!
Go with the flow. “Just like, whatever, man.” Not always the best response either. This kind of attitude means you are subject to the will of others and the world.
Adaptive Action. Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives, but the most adaptable.” This type of change response means you are looking ahead to the new future and taking purposeful steps to adapt to the new conditions.
On the farm, you have to adapt. My father changed the business from chickens, potatoes and green beans, to row crops, peaches, apples and pick-your-own. In my lifetime, we’ve had to change from packing peaches and loading semi-trailers to retail, bakery, and agritourism.
We all go through changes, the question is how will we choose to react to those changes?
We at Maple Lawn Farms are adapting in a few new ways this year as well and we’ll keep you posted on the progress, but for now, swing on by, see for yourself, and pick some cherries before they are gone.
Only two weekends of cherry season remain!
See you soon on the farm,
Farmer Hugh


PS Like David Bowie? Here’s a link to David Bowie singing “Life is just a bowl of cherries.” Listen to the lyrics and enjoy! https://youtu.be/pl3vxEudif8
watch video