I dreamt once that I had won the lottery in heaven and got to be born a farmer's daughter. I always felt being raised on our farm was better than going to Disneyland. I have a thousand memories of walking hand-in-hand with my mother or father through the orchard in harvest season and reaching up to pick a ripe peach grown on one of our faithful trees, or proudly riding beside my father in the big farm truck, taking our Bartlett pears to market. I know what good fruit tastes like and it has ruined me for anything else.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of baking with my mother in our farmhouse kitchen. She affectionately inducted me into the baking tradition of my Swiss great-grandmother, who immigrated to the States in the early 1900s. Favorite recipes included Biera weaka (pear roll), Apfelküchlein (apple dessert), bratzelis (waffle cookies) and Zopf (braided bread). To this day, whenever I visit a bakery or bake in my own kitchen, the smell of fresh bread instantly transports me back to Sunday afternoons and the fresh honey wheat my mother first ground and then baked with each week. Her baked goods usually incorporated the seasonal tree-ripened fruit that had been freshly harvested on the orchard that same day.
I remember once climbing a tree in the old Golden Delicious grove and resting my little body on a strong limb to read. That summer I read throughThe Little House on the Prairie series. I couldn’t help but imagine building a cabin someday on the orchard and recreating Laura's childhood at Mt. View Orchards. Over the past decade, that dream has developed into a strong desire to move home and continue my family’s tradition of growing delicious, sustainably raised fruit. My original vision for taking over the farm included a marriage and children, but so far my farm-loving man has yet to arrive and the time for my parents to hand the reins to the next generation certainly has arrived. So I have decided to move forward with this part of the dream and hope that the other pieces will fall into place in time. This past Father’s Day weekend, I left behind my job and amazing community of friends in Portland, and moved home to save my family’s farm.
Thus far, the learning curve to manage an entire orchard has been high, and I’ve had plenty of curve balls thrown at me. I have had to be extremely flexible with my timelines and expectations of when pieces come together. But overall, returning to my roots has felt like a natural fit. I am filled with hopeful anticipation and peace. Maybe farming is my birthright—it is in my DNA, an unstoppable calling or force to which I am finally surrendering.
I have always believed that though my family has farmed this land for generations, the land has never truly belonged to us. In the end, the land will outlive us all. We ultimately belong to the orchard. The soil holds our blood, sweat, and tears, and we are deeply connected to its core in a delicious collaboration. The orchard is our home, our legacy, our family tradition. It’s been passed forward and stewarded through pleasure and pain for many decades. Choosing to carry on the farming legacy feels like one of the best decisions I have made thus far in my thirties. I am a grateful farmer.