We bought the orchard in 2001, moving from Central Maine where we had worked and raised our two sons for fifteen years. One might say we were idealistic; we believed agriculture mattered, and we still do. We saw the orchard as an opportunity to carry on a tradition, to make a commitment to meaningful work outdoors, and to bring the best of our mental and physical abilities to the project. It is very interesting, there is so much to learn, and it has been well worth our energy. The orchard has connected us to the community in which we live, and we are continually reminded of how much folks value the orchard as a presence in Hope.
Brien sees himself as "just the keeper of the apples." He says he gets to climb trees for a living. He loves to prune fruit trees. He loves to pick apples. Growing apples is challenging. "Sometimes I hate growing apples because I lose," Brien says. " A disease takes over and I can't beat it. On the other hand, I admire how nature usually wins and I have to stand back and say I can try all I want, but it has the upper hand, and I have to work with it, not against it." When Brien is not tending the orchard, he is a nurse practitioner and owner of Hope Health in Camden.
Emily is taken with fresh apples, and is smitten with fresh pears. She believes that tending this orchard is the right thing do with the land. She loves that she can share a really simple but wonderful food with other people. She says, "The orchard gives us more energy than it takes, at least most of the time. It allows me to work with the natural cycle of the seasons and that keeps me grounded." Emily's work in the orchard is balanced alongside her role as a school counselor at Troy Howard Middle School, in Belfast and helping people get fit for the adventures of their lives.Visit her website Embarktoday.com