Maple Lawn Farms – “The Summer Symphony”


Life on the Farm – “The Summer Symphony”


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

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…