about

October

2012

How do ya’ like them apples! (apple farming in the early years)

EDUCATION, FAMILY, Growing up Maine

Growing up, my dad had a ton of quirky sayings and “how do ya’ like them apples” was one of them. According to Urban Dictionary its official meaning is “what do you think about that?” This post is actually going to go in a totally different direction, but it is apple related and this phrase just came to mind. I will post later about my dad and his quirky little sayings.

The picture above is one of my favorite from our childhood apple farming days. My sister and I in our “apple hats.”

My dad bought the apple orchard when he and my mom were in high school. They have been the proud owners for 45 years. Can you even imagine doing anything for 45 years? I would say that it is practically unheard of these days when we can change businesses by the click of a mouse. His love for the apples and the apple farming “process” is truly magical and inspiring.

The apples were a huge part of my childhood, particularly in the fall. When I was a child they packed their apples on big machines and they were shipped in boxes all over the country. I used to love to stand on an apple box and look into the spinning machine that separated the apples by size.

My earliest memories about earning my own money started with the apple orchard. I would get off the school bus outside the apple barn each day at 3:30 to begin packing apples with all the ladies of the barn. I was eight years old when I started, but I felt so grown up being part of all the interesting topics that women in their 50’s discuss while working together for 8 hours. I arrived at break time and there was no shortage of donuts, hot coffee and baked goods.

Packing the apples was the most glamourous of the apple jobs. There was also picking “brush” or “drops.” Ugh, they were not my favorite, but they were other ways to make money, which I loved.

On the weekends I often got to ride on the back of the apple cart while they “hauled in.” This was so much fun. My sister and I would bounce up and down the road while teenage boys loaded the full apple boxes on to the wooden cart. We would usually arrive back at the barn just as the sky had turned to a dark blue and the stars were peeking through.

apple farming

apple farming

So life has come full circle. Many years later I am back helping with the apple farming (on the weekends), but this time in a selling capacity. The customers are so nice and they love the apples. It is hard to imagine that one day there will be no “xxx Orchard.” If you are wondering, I will not be taking over the business. I love the apples and what they stand for (buy local), but it is a real commitment and you must have a love for it. We are ready to travel.

apple farming

Now I take my kids to the apple stand and they help me, 3 generations. I will be doing a series of posts on the children and learning about money. The apple orchard has played a huge part in their finance education.

So lets toast to the first of many “apple posts,” about the lessons, the fun, and the experiences.

hugs and kisses,
Gumdrop Mom

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