Tomorrow we head for the Berkshires, Stump Sprouts to be exact, for the annual meeting of Holistic Orchardists. Organized by Michael Phillips, author of “The Apple Grower, a guide for the organic orchardist“, this is an amazing two days of roundtable discussions on healthy orchard care. We feel honored to be a part of the discussion and grateful to all participants for how much we walk away with at the end of the visit. Michael has been do amazing work to further the field of holistic management of orchard systems. For those of you interested in delving deeper into the inner life of apples or philosophies on sustainable agricultural practices, the site www.groworganicapples.com is a great place to begin. Yes, a heck of a lot goes into that there bottle of Redbyrd Orchard Cider.
And here’s what we’ll be up to tomorrow and Thursday:
“The place to be for healthy fruit growers here in the Northeast is at our annual roundtable meeting in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts every March. This will be the 23rd year in a row we are doing this! No other get-together better explores the cutting edge issues that face community orchardists. Our unfettered talk ranges from how to best manage repellent strategies for curculio to the complex overlay of fruit moth woes. We’ll discuss what global warming means for our beloved trees and how a beneficial microorganism complex furthers disease control in a holistic orchard. Is organic thinning (beyond endless handwork) becoming a real possibility? What are the latest discoveries regarding soil health and wood’s edge ecology? And you bet we share our marketing success stories and frustrations. Local agriculture is truly one of those earth-saving graces now needed more than ever. Many of us find this collective session invaluable to delve into the finer nuance that makes low spray goals possible. Our circle has been as few as eight and as many as thirty-three. We each have valuable takes on “orchard truth,” yet only by coming together do we sometimes realize the bigger picture that leads to answers. Some people who come offer years of wellpruned experience; others offer offbeat idealism that veterans invariably overlook. All who love their trees and the good fruit are needed to make this coming together a worthy success.”
-holistic orchard network