January 5, 2017
What a year. We officially started May 2015 with our Hard Cider Company, Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distilling Co., LLC. This has changed some things for us. We are now open year-round on the weekends. So, less time to recover from the crazy "fruit season", regroup and plan for next season. Old story, nevery enough time. But, always having new stuff to build upon is pretty exciting. The hard cider has taken off like lightening, making it possible to start the distilling portion of the company (only about 18 months away from selling). The new walk in cooler barn we build in spring of 2015 (named-Twizzler) makes it possible to over-winter apples. So, we now have apples and "soft cider" well into the spring. Maybe being open year-round will work out better than expected. All we need is new stuff. We have that. Happy New Year. And, thank you for your support in 2016. We love our orchard family. You are the best.
April 3, 2016
Wearing enough clothes to camp in the northern tundra I am prepared to go to farmers market this morning. It is 30 degree with high wind making it feel like 20 degree. I have been here before, hand warmers, silly hat, insulated clothing. I got this. Then, I take a look at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge web-site. They are not going to let my truck cross the bridge today because it is a box truck with a very light load.The sustained wind at the bridge is between 40-49 mph. Now, what do I do? All dressed up with nowhere to go.
March 5, 2014
Really, life is pretty good. We have good friends and a loving family. We are healthy. We work hard and we play hard. We have turned the page and find that the next chapter is just as cool as those that came before. So, what do we worry about? Mostly, our moments of weakness come when we see the weather report of a late frost. Or, the dreaded hail storm. In winter and early spring we worry that we will not have membership requests for the CSA. I am particularly crazy about this and every year the man reminds me that I said the same thing last year and it turned out to be a banner year for the CSA. This year is no different. I am at the orchard full time and I am the one in charge of starting the vegetables and making it a success for our members. (no pressure) It reminds me of being a kid and hoping that people liked me. In the end, we will fill our roster and EVERYONE WILL EAT GREAT THIS YEAR! There, I said it. Now, when I worry I can re-read this and find comfort in my own words of encouragement.
Eat well my friends.
July 18, 2013
Why make it just one day? Every day should be love a farmer day. Everyone works hard and everyone deserves a little recognition for their efforts. So, here is my award for the farmer that I love. The statue for this award is a man with noticeably darker legs and arms to emphasize the farmer tan. Around the head is a crown of sweat beads. The statue is wearing a basket over his shoulder, a farm implement in one hand, and is holding a little girl in the other arm. His dog is standing just behind him. This statue is not very big but it is made of pure gold, or dirt because the farmer would appreciate the dirt statue more. And, the best part of the statue is the smile. He has a big broad smile. He is happy and he is loved.
I may have to make this, go hug a farmer you love day.
January 25, 2013
People that know me find it difficult to believe that one: I bought a farm, two: I really do get dirty, three: that I love this life. The one thing that still surprises me? We now go away to a work convention. An Agriculture Work Convention. And it is cool! We have to do continueing education to maintain our license (get those at the meeting), plus, we learn so very much. So, while everyone else is snug in their house while it snows like a blizzard we will be at a convention (not in the tropics, either). Happy Winter!
September 30, 2012
This morning, the chef, Kevin from Copper Kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland was on WBAL for a cooking segment. He had asked to keep one of our crates to use as display on TV. We of course said, yes. But, Kevin went a step farther and told the audience how he had "gotten the apples from a great orchard in Caroline County name Blades Orchard." I immediately received a text from someone telling me that we were on TV. Then I checked our website visits. Wow, Kevin is good. Thank you for helping a whole bunch of new people find our little spot on the map.
September 3, 2012
After a month I think I am ready to write about our worst day, ever. July 27, 2012, 8pm. Thunderstorm rolled over the orchard. The wind was 51mph, trees were snapped in half, lightening split a tree into three parts, and then.....
Dime-sized hail. You read about farmers bemoaning hail storms, but until you find half of the crop gone and the majority that remains damaged, a hail storm is just a notion. The vegetable that were strpped from the plans have started to rebound and yeild again. The fruit does not do that. The blooms in spring turn into fruit and that fruit hangs on the tree for five or more months before harvest. No backup fruit growing like vegetables. So, we have added one more thing to our prayers. Please, no more hail.
The surprise has been that the hail damaged fruit has scars but the damage does not go down into the fruit, it is just the skin.
The good news has been for our customers because we sell this fruit for a fraction of the price of our pretty peaches and everyone comes back with the same story...still tastes great.
Hail, hail, go away, don't come again this way.
June 15, 2012
You are at the top of the roller coaster ride. You look down, feel a little dizzy but a little rush goes through you, too. You feel yourself drop and that is when you either cry out in fear or scream with joy at the experience.
Either way, you let out a noise that is heard for blocks. This is how we feel today. We are walking the rows, testing the peaches, and we know the ride is about to start. The rush is upon us. The anticipation of the start of peach season is always like the big roller coaster. We will start picking Monday. Just three more days.
The question, will we cry out or scream with joy?
I love this time of year.
April 16, 2012
This is the year of EARLY. And, the year of NO WINTER.
Each year we brainstorm new ways to extend our season. Do we put up a high tunnel or do we start crops that harvest later into the season? Do we make preserves, pies, dried fruit? Do we offer a late season CSA?
Well, this year it has been decided for us. We had a plan to start at the farmers market in mid-May with Strawberries. Like every other crop, they are early.
So, now we see that all the brainstorming and planning is a good way to organize, but we cannot rule out mother nature as the ultimate decision maker. Bottom line, our season just got extended. See you Saturday in St. Michaels.
Be there early-like the strawberries-or you may find that they have all jumped into someone elses basket before your feet hit the floor in the morning.
March 22, 2012
Few things make me as happy as doing something well. When we started this neither of us knew if we could make good food. Now, we KNOW. The proudest moment is watching a guy who has one of our giant peaches lean over the garbage can to eat it because the juice is so plentiful that it will run down his arm. He makes the right choice. He keeps eating.
Who knew that feeding people could be so fulfilling?
Watch for us to show up at your favorite grocer. We have been talking to a number of stores about supplying all kinds of fruit this year. We will keep you posted.
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