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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Maple Lawn Farms – “Peach = Soccer Ball?”

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Aunt Sarah & the kids find GIANT peaches and a GIANT Fantasia almost as big as a #1 Soccer Skills Ball.
Farmer Hugh Eats Fruit
[CLICK for VIDEO] Farmer Hugh tries to eat 1 of everything last week. Can he do it?
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” Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” – W. H. Auden

The Rhythm of Life. We all use patterns, routines and habits to simplify our lives. If fact, our brains are pattern forming machines. It all started when the world was a more dangerous place. As humans, we had to survive.

The Brain uses the most fuel of any part of the body, so the brain became good at setting patterns to keep us from thinking all the time. Imagine if you had to think about breathing and making your heartbeat every second of your life! Now, breathing is blessedly a pattern that happens without our thinking about it.

Patterns you want. Many patterns and habits are things you would want. As adults, driving is like second nature, easy, but when something breaks the pattern, such as a braking vehicle ahead, our body jolts us to respond. Likewise, you have a rhythm at work, a pattern you follow each day. Kids have a rhythm at school, they’ll soon be in. You likely shop the same stores, drive the same routes, eat the same food and see the same people, day in and day out.

Patterns you don’t want. Unfortunately, patterns & habits can be harmful. Maybe you always roll your eyes at your teenage daughter. Maybe she always pulls out her phone every time the conversation lapses for more than 5 seconds. Maybe you always eat fast-food for lunch. Maybe you plop down on the coach the minute you get out of school and don’t move until 11PM with a crushing wave of cable sapping your will to live. (Just saying maybe…)

Robotic Life. Do you ever feel like your life is on autopilot? Like you are moving mindlessly through the days, busy as all get-out, but not going anywhere? You are trapped in your patterns; you are living a robotic life.

The Reassessment. This is a perfect time to break your patterns and escape to the farm. The fresh air and diversion from your normal sights, sounds and smells is a welcome relief to a brain stuck in the proverbial rut.

Nature has a way of connecting us to something bigger then the thrumming beat of daily life.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

Maple Lawn Farms – “The Summer Symphony”

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Life on the Farm – “The Summer Symphony”

Hey,

The Peach Seasons of my youth were a melange of sights, sounds and smells. From age 5, I put boxes on the ‘filler’ that would gently fill the boxes with graded, sized peaches, then push one box through with the empty box I’d just placed on the machine and repeat the process, tens of thousands of times.

It was a cacophony I can still hear in my mind today, the smell of water-cooled peaches, propane from the forklift, clanging metal parts, air compressors powering fillers, workers chattering over the equipment. It was an industrial dance, a symphony of activity.

It was also hard work. It was hard work done under the relentless deadline of ever-ripening fruit threatening to become worthless the second it got too soft to sell. Weather, slow picking crews, late hours, it was a pressure-cooker of stress through which my parents managed to raised three kids, seldom get frustrated with each other and pilot our small farm forward.

The Summer Symphony. Things are different now, but somehow remain the same. The peach packing house once silenced by our farm’s lack of size, now clangs and squeaks its motors to sort peaches into our juice press for our winery and others. Picking crews send in wagons of crates for hand sorting to send to auctions and other farm markets. Peach deliveries and juice delivery trucks roll out. Corn trucks are loaded, 2-5 a day, preparing room for this year’s crop.

Pick-your-own guests harvest perfect peaches straight from the trees in record numbers. Day camps take field trips to the Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park. Wine tastings bustle each weekend. Bakery treats emerge from the ovens.

Yesterday was a pressure cooker kind of day. Michelle booking groups. Matt ordering winery supplies. The team at the maze starting and serving 3 different groups and 3 different times. Dad moving wagons and crews to and from each peach block. Charles pressing juice. Rocky forklifting. Frank driving truck and tractor.

Peaches ripening, deadlines looming. Fruit to guests. Fruit to wholesale customers. Juice to wineries.

The instruments have changed, but the symphony plays on. Each movement, each season different; the music of summer harvest continues.

The fleeting magic of juicy, sun-ripened freestone peaches lasts but a little while before Fall.

Two big peach picking weekends remain. Will you to join our merry band?

See you soon at the farm,

Farmer Hugh

Life on the Farm – Life on the Farm: “Firsts & Lasts”

Hidden Gem Railroad Station nears completion.
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Jesse admires his handiwork on the station. The train loads between the Rope Maze & Stone Labyrinth.

Come celebrate with us. We love it when you come over to the farm, so come celebrate with us. This weekend features a number of Lasts & Firsts as Labor Day often does. It is a milestone in the farm year, just as it is, or used to be, in the school year. Here are some for this weekend.

First – Gala Apples are in for their very limited season. The are so sweet and crunchy they are like candy to me. They are the last sweet taste of summer.
First – Macintosh apples are in as well, so you can get a bit of tart with your sweet Galas. Macs are best early in the season, so don’t wait for the rest of the varieties if you like TART.
Last – Peaches and nectarines finish up this weekend in the orchard and Mr. Allen will be moving his gazebo to the apple orchard to serve you better this Fall.
First – Blondee Apples are our newest variety in our newest orchard and we have picked all of the very limited quantity, but you HAVE TO taste them! I predict they will become a Maple Lawn Farms Signature Apple just as many of you know the Smoothee Apples to be.
Last – This is the last weekend WITHOUT Apple Cider Donuts. We are making donuts this Saturday to kick-off the fall season. We’ll have them every weekend from now through November in the farm market.
First – The Amazon Adventure Corn Maze opens to the public! Saturday Sept 5th at 10AM, you can be the first to challenge this year’s adventure and play in the Fun Park.
Last – This year we said good-bye to and rebuilt Perilous Planks, our tilting plank puzzle in the Fun Park into the Step-Over Maze. It’s a challenging puzzler that has you step over the colored planks in order: Red, then White, then Blue in an effort to escape!
First – The Hidden Gem Railroad takes it’s first passengers this weekend! This is a big new attraction for the Fun Park and for train lovers. We had this Trackless Train built special for our farm. It loads at the station between the Rope Maze and the Stone Labyrinth then travels behind the Pedal Karts to a special crop of Sudan Grass.
First – We are FINALLY able to open our new patio area this weekend with stamped concrete, new railings, new tables, chairs and umbrellas for you to enjoy. Grab an ice cream cone and relax on the NEW farm market patio!
So many Firsts and Lasts as the seasons start to change and Fall arrives. The weather is set to cool off a little for the weekend with the sun shining on this little farm in Pennsylvania.
Sure, you might have plans for some of the weekend, but you might want to carve out a little time to bring your family out for some good old fashioned fun.
We’re here for you :-)
See you 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
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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…