[gallery ids="1265,1266,1267,1268,1269,1270,1271,1272,1273,1274,1275"] If you've received your copy of BREATHE, I'm sure you noticed the stunning photographs of apple trees and their blossoms opposite our Head, Hands, Heart divider pages, as well as on the back cover. Kimberly Peck shared those images with us, and we asked her to share some words here about the orchard and farmer photographed:
"Green Mountain Orchards, located in Putney, Vermont, is celebrating 100 years in 2014. It has been owned & operated by the Darrow family since 1914, starting with great-grandfather William Darrow, and passed down through the generations - currently going on it's 4th (photographed is Lara Darrow). The orchard has grown over the past 100 years, with a few acres purchased in 1914 to well over 100 today. They grow 36 varieties of apples over 100 acres, as well as 19 acres of blueberries, pears & raspberries (plus more fruits depending on the weather that year). They offer their own high-quality apple cider, as well as make-your-own-cider using their demonstration press. Pruning is done by hand, tree by tree, all winter long, and thining is done in the spring. Bees are rented to keep pollination going.
What sparked my interest, in addition to the orchard and the Darrow family being staples of the Putney community & southern Vermont, is that over the past 2 years they have installed solar panels as a way to switch to more efficient and 'green' energy. The energy needed to refrigerate their fruit over the winter months, sometimes as long as 8 months, (and they wholesale all winter long, with destinations as far as Boston) is an enormous amount, so they have found an alternative to help get off the grid as much as possible. According to Casey Darrow, in position to take over the business along with his two sisters, it was the most logical step to bring more sustainability to the orchard, as well as being more cost effective. They currently have around twenty-four 54KW panels, with more being installed this year."
Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing their story, and your beautiful images!