THERE IS SO MUCH MORE to a New England orchard than fresh, nutritious fruit.
Apples are living history, after all, direct descendants of the original trees on which they were discovered. A walk through the orchard is a walk through time.
Orchards are also works of art: living sculptures, continually evolving collaborations between people and nature. A trip to the orchard is like visiting a museum where you get to eat, not just admire, the art!
The orchard suggests order within chaos. Growers sculpt nature’s bounty in grid-like patterns for ease of access and care, yet their straight lines are mediated by the shaggy trees.
The twisted, gnarly apple trees, shaped by years of pruning, stand alone or are trained on trellises in endless poses. No two are the same.
In late summer and fall, the lush green foliage is studded with hundreds of pieces of bright fruit, adding color, detail, and texture, with a little fragrance mixed in.
Beginning in mid-autumn, the leaves gradually mimic the reds and golds of the apples and are finally shed, revealing the skeletal limbs within.
These gestural figures grace the landscape untouched until the grower reshapes the trees in winter, removing dead branches, encouraging new growth, and letting sunlight in.
New trees are planted and nonproductive ones removed before the pink-and-white blossoms of spring, and the cyclical art of the orchard begins again.
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Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts, takes the artistic relationship between people and nature one step further with its biennial sculpture exhibit, Art in the Orchard.
Visitors can meander around more than 30 sculptures made by artists from throughout the Northeast, ranging from the abstract to the whimsical to the classical, artfully arranged through the artful orchard.
Bring your appetite, and your camera.
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MORE AND MORE APPLES are ripening by the day in New England’s orchards, and those orchards not already open for the season will open soon. Now is the ideal time to see the trees at their artistic, horticultural, and nourishing peaks!
Visit our Orchard Finder to see who is growing what, and call ahead for details.
Click on the apple’s name to learn about its characteristics and see who grows them!