Melissa Wood, Contributing Writer
Morrison Hill Orchard in Farmington, ME has been owned and run by Jeanne Simpson for some time now, but five years ago was passed down to her two daughters Jodi and Jan. In the near future they aim to add more to the farm.
Since taking over, oldest daughter and UMF alumni Jodi Hollingsworth and her sister Jan Rackliff have been adding and evolutionizing their family-owned farm. With 350 trees to tend to and many other events hosted at the orchard, “It is definitely a lifestyle,” says Hollingsworth, in a phone interview. “It is not a full time job. It can be difficult at times.”
With there only being 60 acres and 12 different varieties of apples she says, “It is a very intense two month long season.”
Once starting her journey, Hollingsworth says she has more “expansions for the future.” More importantly, she says she wants to add in more food and drink options, as well as lawn games and more animals.
The big outcome is for “people to come, enjoy it, and experience it,” says Hollingsworth. Even though there has been a big reduction in small orchards, the 12 different types of apples really help.
Their season doesn’t start until the apples are ripe and ready to be picked. Every year they have their regulars who come with their families to pick their apples, but they “want to reach out further,” said Simpson.
This year they started their pick-your-own apples season on Sept. 20. In preparation for that, they have to work 12-16 hour days. Though Simpson says they enjoy it together as a family.
Hollingsworth owns County Seat Realty in Farmington, as well. As a result, she must find a way to balance her two careers and the need to be at both places at once. “It can be very challenging at times. It’s a matter of looking ahead and focusing,” says Hollingsworth.
Everyday she starts her mornings at the orchard and then works her day around her realty company. “I always have my schedule set for the season. It is quite a bit of business,” says Hollingsworth.
This 60-acre, family-run orchard in the past has been run by Jerry and Jeanne Simpson. “It is constantly changing,” said Jeanne Simpson. They decided to go with a pick-your-own style of apple picking 10 years ago. They then moved into people buying bushels of their apples.
Simpson decided to retire from teaching in 2002 to help her husband tend to the orchard. Once her two daughters were old enough, they decided to hand the business over to them.
Sisters Jody Hollingsworth, and Jan Rackliff have been running the business for five years and have big plans for the coming years. From apple slingshots to hard cider tasting and many more. They are hoping to bring in a wider base of customers and continue to grow their family business.