As part of our mission, we are establishing a fruit orchard on the property. The orchard will consist of approximately 40 apple trees, blueberry bushes and heirloom raspberry plants. It will be in an area where the raspberries have been growing for decades and there is evidence that apple trees were also once grown there. The orchard will be established as a “guild” community and maintained as organically and environmentally responsibly as possible, following the system outlined by Michael Phillips in his book, “The Holistic Orchard.”
The orchard will benefit people by providing nutritious fruit grown without chemicals. It will benefit the environment by not using poisons and by providing a habitat that will nurture native species such as birds, amphibians, reptiles and beneficial insects.
The site on the property was chosen for the following reasons: plenty of sun, protected from north winds by evergreen trees, raspberry plants already growing there, flat and easy to access by workers but secluded, already surrounded by many native and wildlife friendly plants. The area had been neglected for decades and was very overgrown with vines, small trees and weeds. There were remnants of old sheds, piles of firewood and logs and other debris around.
We started clearing the area in the spring of 2016. We had the large maple trees that were growing against the back of the chicken coop removed and with only volunteers and a small bulldozer, were able to clear approximately 85% of the area. We are currently working to clear the remaining trees and brush and plan to have it finished by March in time to plant apple trees.