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Carlson's Orchard in Harvard, MA. Photo by Liz West.

Carlson’s Orchard in Harvard, MA. Photo by Liz West.

April’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Liz West, who photographed apple blossoms at Carlson’s Orchard in Harvard.

Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts was founded in 1936 by Walter and Eleanor Carlson. In the thirties and forties, they made their living from a diversified farm of chickens, cows, potatoes and apples. In the late sixties, the farm began to specialize in fruit with apples being the main crop. Today, the Carlsons are dedicated to growing the best tree fruits, blueberries, raspberries, peaches and pumpkins. Bruce, Frank and Robert Carlson, the three proud sons of Walter & Eleanor, are dedicated to maintaining their family’s fine reputation and the great tradition of high quality apples and apple products that was started over 63 years ago.

Carlson Orchards is a 140 acre working farm that welcome customers July through October to pick their own fruit crop.  The home orchard is 50 acres of rolling green fruit trees, a prolific 25 year old blueberry patch, a Fall raspberry patch, several grassy fields suitable for gazing at the clouds, a frog pond with an unofficial count of over 50 dragonflies (last survey conducted by Ethan Brooks, age 11), a really, really great pumpkin patch, ten varieties of peaches, five varieties of nectarines, and of course, apple!  Over 18 varieties including McIntosh, Cortland, Macoun, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Ginger Gold, Empire, Royal Gala, Cameo, Jonagold, Crispen, Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith and super secret Baldwins. Check out their growing season chart!

Carlson Orchards hosts a Peach Festival each year and new this year will be a late fall Apple Festival (Oct. 18-19). They also welcome many area school children to learn about the orchard. They have a very active packing house where the apples are sorted, sized, bagged and boxed. Watching their business in operation makes a lasting and valuable impression on visitors, teaching them about local food and its economic importance in the Commonwealth. In 2010, they received grant funding to install 1,050 solar photovoltaic panels.

The Carlson family loves their orchards and knows you will too!

Each month, we are posting the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar’s photo of the month. Featuring photos of Bay State farming, the calendar is available for purchase. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo ContestProceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit organization that works with teachers to develop classroom materials. The calendar features a winning photograph each month, as well as interesting facts about local agriculture.

Written By:


DAR Program Coordinator

With a background in the culinary arts, nutrition education and program development, Julia joined The Department of Agricultural Resources Division of Agricultural Markets in 2008 to help spread the word about Massachusetts’ incredible agricultural and culinary opportunities. She also coordinates several grant and marketing programs available to a diversified group of growers and agricultural associations across the Commonwealth. A Boston University graduate, she can be found in her spare time sourcing out the best local products for her next culinary creation or volunteering in the community.

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