“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 – “Back to school – for grown-ups, too.”

Nectarines & Peaches | Hugh chomps a nectarine |
Back To School for Grown-ups
Interesting Image
watch video
Farmer Hugh devours a nectarine – fast.
2 Things to Know this Week:
  1. Freestone Burgundy Peaches & Fantasia Nectarines are PRIME!
  2. We’re social: Connect for updates on Facebook [CLICK HERE]
Life on the Farm – “Back To School – For Grown-ups, Too.”
This is an interesting time on the farm when you can get peaches, nectarines and apples all at once. This weekend will be an excellent opportunity to fill your freezer, get some great treats for packing school lunches, and sampling the best fruits of the farm.
But, like anything good, there’s a deadline. The next two weekends will be the best picking for stone fruits, then peaches start to taper off and apples start to move to the lead position. You have to get here soon! When the peaches hit their deadline, they are over for a whole year.
That reminds me of “Back to School” timeas the age-old indicator of the relentless change of seasons and the forward march of time. Though Back To School is nearly like Black Friday in the retail world, it’s the change in mindset that always tugs on my emotions; pulls on my brain, calls for change.
Back To School for grown-ups. I think about what I say to my kids as they prep for school, and I’ve realized that it’s good advice for me, too.
  • “We do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do.”
  • “Yep, math’s hard, life’s hard, get over it and find a way to win.”
  • “Buck-up, buttercup.”
  • “You can’t do every activity, so pick the one’s you enjoy the most, then commit to them.”
  • “Sometimes you have to work with/be around people you don’t like, but you have to offer them respect and get your work done anyway. ’cause that’s what we do.”
  • “Everything is hard until you understand it. Practice, hard work and time are the only things that make stuff easier.”
It’s a cliche for a reason. We all need to go back to school, at least go back to the Back To School mindset. You and I never stop learning; stop discovering. Cliche, but true. If you feel like you have or you feel like you are just “marking time” through life, learning something new is the cure. What do you not know, or wish you knew more about? What interests you or excites you?
I’ve recently really enjoyed our newest farm project (soon to be announced, we hope!) because it carries me out of my daily routine. We are working on new, interesting, though hard, problems. Yes, they are hard, but it’s really rewarding. (Wait, “Everything’s hard until you understand it.” Someone said that recently…) Each day we still learn knew things about fruit trees, peach harvests, Growing Degree Days, nectarine varieties, and filling good CSA boxes. Yep, we don’t know everything about fruit farming yet.
It’s a process. You’ll find that it’s a process as you learn and grow or read or run or get into your child’s 7th grade math or can peaches like Grandma did or make applesauce from scratch or coach soccer.
From task to adventure. Whatever you choose, work to shift your viewpoint from task to adventure. It takes me a hours to run my son to soccer, plan drills, spend the practice time, and commit to game days on the weekend. The flip side is that I have a “FREE” experimental group to learn about motivation in the U13 age group. Each week I try a different tactic to build the team, build up the players, enhance their skills, challenge them to pull together and ultimately succeed.
Each week I ask myself:Did that tactic work? Who responded? Who grew the most? Who rejected the push? Did the team’s mood change?
These and so many questions turn, what could be a dreadful hour and a half sitting in a lawn chair waiting until my son was done practice, into an adventure in which the kids and I get an interactive learning experience.
It all happens with a change in mindset; a willingness to shift your mind into Back To School mode.
So, what do you want to learn this Fall as the season change and as the kids go back to school. What new thing will you learn?
What will be your learning adventure this Fall? How will you go “Back To School”?
See you soon on the farm,
Farmer Hugh
PS Need a farm field trip for your learning adventure? These are the LAST TWO big weekends for peach and nectarine picking. Get here now and fill up your freezer for the winter. Those peaches will look really good come February…