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.