New England: It’s a central part of our identity as an apple orchard nestled in the hills of North Central Massachusetts. If you grew up in the region, it’s likely a huge part of your identity too, your childhood memories and lingering nostalgia inextricable from its four distinct seasons. At least once in your life, you’ve probably lamented the long winter and threatened to pack up and move to the west coast. These threats are always empty, though. Year after year, we lace up our boots and trudge through the snow, curses silenced by harsh gusts of wind. It’s the kind of torture we’ve grown not just to “put up with,” but deep down, to actually love.
The reason relates to what we’re all going through right now. Because going out in the freezing cold meant a warm mug of hot chocolate later; because the first day of spring would not elicit the same joy without the cold that came before it; and because even the longest winters are sprinkled with moments of beauty and wonder. New England’s seasons are uniquely comforting in their paradoxical constant promise of change. Just as our joy at the taste of freshly picked blueberries is increased knowing that they won’t be available all year, so too is our comfort during bad times increased knowing that nothing lasts forever.
The “19” in “COVID-19” stands as a reminder that our winter is even longer than usual this year. And not just because it snowed twice in May! In a symbolic sense, we’re frozen in December 2019 when the pandemic first began, staying mostly indoors and some putting important life events on hold.
Here on the farm, we’re constantly learning lessons from nature and adapting to its unexpected surprises. This year especially, we’re forced to reckon with our inability to predict or control the pandemic. But we’re no more capable of stopping the pandemic than we’re capable of stopping the miraculous side of nature. This week, the orchard reminded us that in fact, spring has arrived, and soon summer will too. The trees are now in full bloom, and the bees have arrived to play their role in turning those blossoms into delicious fruit. Al even stumbled upon a wild honeybee nest yesterday, a sure sign that our land is as healthy and fruitful as ever.
We eagerly await the day when it’s safe to step into 2020 fully, and to share the upcoming harvest with you in whatever capacity we’re able to! Our mission is to provide an authentic, New England, family farm experience to our guests – and that’s what we plan to do, even if it looks a little bit different this year.
With apple season coming into full swing this year its great to take a moment and look back at past apple seasons. Thanks to Mrs. Nancy MacEwan, our friend and neighbor, we recently acquired a 1968 article featuring a picture of her picking and sorting apples. Here’s an excerpt from Worcester’s The Evening Gazette that I hope you enjoy reading as much as we do:
By Steven Preston, The Evening Gazette, Thursday, October 10, 1968
Phillipston – There is a lull in the whirlwind which each fall hits the Red Apple Farm on Highland Avenue at harvest time. The “Macs” have been stripped from the trees and put in cold storage or distributed to retail outlets. Apple Picking activity will soon be in full swing again as winter apples, such as Northern Spies, ripen with the first frosts of the year.
Open House Sunday
To observe this annual rite of gathering the richness of fruit from the trees, Mr. and Mrs. A. Spaulding Rose, owners of the Red Apple Farm, will hold their seventh annual open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. This year for the first time, the Apple Queen of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association will attend the open house, arriving at 3:30. She is Miss Mary Dowse of Sherborn. Rose, 62, who has been growing apple since 1929, estimates the crop this year at 8,000 to 10,000 bushels – about 85 per cent of last year’s bumper crop. However, he says, they are better quality because of early summer rains. (more…)
Filed under: Farm History
The following is the beginning of a memoir written by Carolyn Rose. My father-in-law found it recently and passed it along to me. I have typed it directly from her manuscript that was written on blank ‘Welcome Wagon’ hostess forms. Additionally, we estimate this picture of her, taken in her very modern kitchen for a USDA article, dates from the late 1930’s. We hope you enjoy the glimpse into the past as much as we have.
The Saga of Red Apple Farm
By Carolyn Chaffin Rose
In the beginning was the house – and the orchard. He said, “I’ve found a farm and orchard that I like, will you come to see the house?” We drove to a small town in northern Worcester County, down a narrow dirt road lined with huge old maples and there was the house.
Filed under: Farm History
Open Daily Year-Round!
Farm Store is now open for inside purchases and curbside pickup!
9 am - 6 pm Mon - Thur
9 am - 8 pm Fri & Sat
9 am - 6 pm Sun
For curbside pickup payment and confirmation please go to our new curbside pickup page!
Open for the 2020 summer season!
4 pm - 9 pm Fri
11:30 am - 9 pm Sat
11:30 am - 7 pm Sun
More Info and reservation instructions on the Brew Barn page.
Closed for the season.
Open at the Boston Public Market for next day delivery or pickup through What's Good!
The farm store and Brew Barn are now OPEN! We can't wait to welcome you back to the farm. See Hours & Information for more details and instructions below. Curbside pickup still available too, and pick-your-own blueberries coming very soon!