Apple OrchardAbbey Farms Apple Orchard Ribbon Cutting

Before the hustle and bustle of Pumpkin Daze began, apple tree sponsors were invited to a ribbon cutting for the Founders Grove. The Founders Grove is a small part of the eventual 20-acre apple orchard under development at Abbey Farms. Each of the trees in this grove is lovingly sponsored by families and businesses. Not only is this a means to help us fund the orchard, but they can also to grow their memories.

A Ribbon Cutting, Blessing and First Tree Planted 

Hayrack rid to Abbey Farms' Apple OrchardOn Sunday, Sept. 9, the first event for tree sponsors was held at the Nagel Family Emporium. After a delicious lunch, sponsors and their families boarded hayracks for a short ride to the site of the upcoming apple orchard, west of Hart Road. Adam Voirin, chief operating officer for Abbey Farms, thanked the donors, and shared the vision for the orchard.

Abbey Farms Apple Orchard Ribbon CuttingAfter also thanking them for their generous support, Marmion Abbey’s Abbot John Brahill, OSB led the assembled group in a prayer and a blessing. Following the prayers, a ribbon was cut, and shovels full of dirt planted this first tree. Many families took advantage of the beautiful, sunny day to take snapshots while family members added a shovel of dirt to the planting. After the hayrack ride back to the Emporium, all in attendance were treated to Abbey Farms’ “famous” apple-cider donuts. A fitting end to a wonderful event!

Apple Orchard Sponsorships Available 

As we grow our apple orchard, we invite you to grow your memories alongside by sponsoring an apple tree. By investing in our orchard, you and your family will not only receive special apple picking privileges, you’ll have the opportunity to give a gift that keeps on giving. And…your tree will become a shareable gift once its apples are harvested each year. 

Although we will always welcome donations to the orchard, in a few years, the trees sponsored won’t necessarily grow in the “Founders Grove.” So, if you want to ‘purchase’ a family tree or donate one in honor or memory of another, we encourage you do so now. As we wrote previously in this blog post, you’ll receive:

  • Seasonal summer progress visits to the Apple Orchard for the first three years of tree growth
  • A commemorative plaque that will stay in place for the life of the apple tree (20 – 25 years or more)

You’ll also receive special picking privileges:

  • Each tree sponsor is entitled to early picking rights off their tree with a complimentary ½ peck of apples included during the first five years. Additional apples will be available for sale at market value.
  • Admission-free access to the Apple Orchard during the first five years for the sponsor’s immediate family (up to 6 people).
  • After early sponsor picking, your tree will be opened to the public for seasonal picking to help create memories for many more families!

We all know Mother Nature is not always kind, so if your sponsored tree should die prematurely, we’ll replace your tree or move your plaque to a different, unsponsored tree.

Planting an apple treeWhat memories can you make or honor? 

Not only will your tree provide delicious apples, consider the photo opportunities for years to come. A yearly Christmas card, perhaps? Sponsoring a tree can be a way for grandparents to honor a new grandchild. Or, it can serve as a living memorial to a cherished loved one.

Keep in mind, your plaque needn’t “honor” anyone. Some of those already ordered are humorous, others are spiritual. For instance, one plague is to read, “What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm.” Thank you to the Schnell family for making us smile!

A Personal Story

Planting the first Honeycrisp apple treeIn my own case, I am purchasing a tree in memory of my recently-deceased dad. While growing up on an Iowa farm, the apple orchard was one of our favorite playgrounds. We’d climb the trees (sorry, that won’t be an option at Abbey Farms!), using them as props for our imaginative play. Besides snacking, the apples proved to be a teaching tool for my dad. My son recalls Grandpa picking an apple and showing him how certain marks on the skin indicate a possibility of a worm inside. When Dad’s personal affects were dispersed, this son specifically asked for a small, ivory-handled pocket knife. It turns out this was the knife used to cut open the apples during the worm-teaching moment. It was a special memento of a memory he held in his heart.

I won’t be able to share this story on a 15-word plaque, but this tree will be a continual reminder of our memories of Dad. Plus, I know that my donation is appreciated and will help Abbey Farms realize this new chapter in its history.

To plant a seed and grow family memories that are rooted in tradition, visit our online order form, or see a cashier in the Emporium. Sponsorships are limited and make a wonderful Christmas, birthday, wedding or anniversary gift. If you have questions, email us at info@abbeyfarms.org. We are excited to grow the next branch of Abbey Farms. Thank you for entrusting your family memories with us!