Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hazel Hill Orchard

Drew gets some tips from Tony as to how to read the apple tree availability map for the orchard.
Today, we went to Hazel Hill Orchard, 59 S. Livermore Rd., Turner, ME.  When we got there, my coworker, Tony Leavitt, met us and showed us around. The orchard sits on 3 acres of land (although, historically it was a huge orchard which stretched down to the road in the distance.) By the way, if you want to choose your own tree to harvest this year, call Tony at 207-500-3886. You can find him on Facebook @HarvestYourOwn Apples  
Orchard Name: One of Tony's grandmothers was named Hazel. And, coincidently, one of Jamela's grandmothers was named Hazel as well. So, hence the name Hazel Hill Orchard.

Upper Left: Gorgeous grounds surround the house with a few Cortland apple trees along the property line.
Right: Apple trees that are covered with vines. They are in the next uncovering phase of the project.
Bottom Left: Brush pile of cleared vines from part of the north side of the property.
The original orchard (about 200 acres?) was in full swing from the 1970s to about 2002, I believe. Then, a large chunk was sold off, and the remaining 3 acres was left, but not worked. Grape vines and other plants smothered the trees over time. Tony moved back to the area a few years ago and decided to get the remaining 3 acres producing again. In the photos above, you can see the brush pile of vines that covered a small section of trees that were "uncovered" so to speak. 

First, we picked one McIntosh tree for the Maine Project Learning Tree silent auction (to be held at Maine Audubon in Falmouth, on Sept. 14th) which Tony generously donated, to help us fund all the workshops we provide for teachers around the state. This tree has ginormous apples! It is a 3 bushel tree. It is labeled and ready for the highest bidder of the "Healthy Mainer" basket that I am assembling;-)

Upper Left: Cortland Tree that we chose for our personal picking this season.
Upper Right: Drew puts the sign on our tree so that nobody but us will pick it.
Bottom Left: Our sign. Of course, Drew named the tree. He chose Amelia Apple for her name.
Bottom Right: A couple of Cortland apples on "our" tree.
Then, we chose our Cortland Apple tree for picking (in early October.) Her name is Amelia. I think that Amelia's apples will be absolutely yummy! By the way, Neighbor Carla is going in with us on the apples.

Tony and I had to pose in front of the tree. I have the best friends. "Yay" to Apples!

Our tour wasn't over yet. Tony pulled out all the stops and showed his 1952 John Deere Tractor in action! Sweet;-)

We were treated like royalty and got to meet Tony's 92 year old mother, who is still gardening, canning, and taking care of her house. She was so gracious and gave us the history of the house and land. By the way, this was but one of several orchards owned by the Leavitt family, which goes back to Tony's grandfather.

Thanks Tony. We had a great visit and we can't wait to come back to pick some ripe apples within the next three to five weeks!

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