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An Orchard's Role In the Environment

We believe that this orchard is carbon positive - we pull more carbon out of the air than we release.

“The environmental footprint of an apple orchard is both positive and negative. Some CO2 is released to the atmosphere in the production of the crop (making and using fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides), but we estimate that an acre of orchard fixes about 20 tons of CO2 from the air each season, releases 15 tons of oxygen, and provides over 5 billion BTUs of cooling power. In addition, some carbon is sequestered in the new wood and roots of the trees.” (Dr. Alan Lakso, New York Horticultural Society, Fruit Quarterly)

What we do:

  • This is a tree farm. There are about 25 acres of orchard and 38 acres of wood lot.
  • Much of the remaining land is managed as bee habitat. Almost all farm land is cut for hay so there are not many wildflowers even in this farm belt on Park Hill
  • We do not till the land, except the small pumpkin gardens, and the sod layer has been continuous for many decades.
  • We do not burn trimmings and prunings. We instead pile them into slow carbon sinks called Hugel Mounds.
  • While we do not graze animals, except for our small chicken flock, our neighbors often give us loads of manure and other compostibles for our large compost fertilizer pile.
  • Our solar power system covers most of the energy we use each year and is estimated to reduce carbon by the equivolent of about 4500 trees.
  • We constantly use cover crops and leave all roots in the ground to sink more carbon as deep as possible.