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Maple Lawn Farms “Autonomy & Its Price”

American farmers feed our country and the world. It is a patriotic act done quietly, competently and consistently each day.

The Blueberries PRIME Right Now

Orchard & Market Hours: Blueberry Patch OPEN NOW 8AM-5PM

Weekly: Hours are Mon-Sat 8AM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Winery Hours: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

YES – We are open on July 4th, 8AM-5PM!

Blog “Autonomy & Its Price”

Happy 4th of July. The birth of our country built on the principles of freedom and autonomy. Agriculture is a business and lifestyle that provides freedom and autonomy, but like everything worthwhile, it comes at a price.

The United States of America came at a price. Thousands of future Americans died to stand up against tyranny; the tyranny of subjugation and control by a monarch.

The end of slavery came at a terrible price. This country tore itself apart pitting brother against brother in a fight for more people to gain autonomy, self-determination. It was a terrible price that needed to be paid for the good of all Americans.

Civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, religious freedoms, are all still very much struggles in a work that will never be completed. It’s part of the tension we manage as we celebrate today the freedoms already won, and the work, the process, still underway.

While there is still so much work to do, I would never trade this life in America. Our country is one of the few places the experiment in personal freedom can be carried out.

Agricultural autonomy. Farming appears to be an idyllic lifestyle. To be out in nature, growing food, seeing work completed by your own hands must be the most satisfying experience. Compared to a life cloistered indoors staring at computer screens, which I did for a brief time after college, I attest that it can be. Ultimate autonomy, right?

Agricultural autonomy and all the satisfaction from growing food for this nation and the world comes at a tremendous price. In 2018, we dealt with the wettest year on record flooding crops, inhibiting pollination, rotting peaches, and preventing pumpkin pickers from picking pumpkins.

Our brothers and sisters in the dairy business faced market pricing for milk below the cost of producing that milk – that means that they had to feed the cows, milk the cows, and ship the milk knowing they would lose money for a year, just to keep the animals healthy and alive. We lost a friend to depression and suicide as that friend saw generations of work slip away as the markets collapsed.

This year our farm friends in Nebraska, Indiana, and Illinois suffered flooding that will prevent them from planting crops on entire sections of their farms.

Imagine for a moment that you took your entire salary from 2018, bought seed, planted it in the ground, and were in the midst of taking care of your new field through this summer in hopes that you would be able to harvest back your entire salary, plus cover your 2019 expenses, and hopefully add a little profit so you could do it again next year!

That’s agriculture. Maple Lawn Farms has grown and changed and diversified with crops, berries, fruits, pumpkins, corn mazes, school tours, sunflower festivals, the bakery, our winery, and winery events in an effort to create a living, adaptive business that can weather the storms, both figuratively and literally. Each business collaborates, shares resources, trades staff as needed to keep everyone employed, and spreads the risk.

While a challenging business to manage and a life full of hard work, I appreciate the ability to choose it for my own.

As you are free to attend a celebration today, as you picnic with your family free from persecution, as you reach for that gallon of milk in the store, I implore you to pause, just for a moment, to offer thanks.

Offer your thanks and gratitude that you are free to move about this great country. Offer thanks for the men and women who provide us with the safety from foreign invasion. Offer thanks to the volunteers and emergency responders who arrive without fail if you are in distress.

Offer thanks to the farmers, now less than 1.75% of Americans, who provide a safe, healthy, vibrant, rich, diverse food supply we all enjoy at pick-your-own farms like ours, farmer’s markets, farm markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and festivals.

Finally, consider this: If this country didn’t have our own safe and plentiful food supply raised by our own diligent farmers, would we have any of the other freedoms we enjoy?

Your food choices matter to your health, to the health of local farms, even to the health of the nation.

In a country built on autonomy, freedom, and choice… Choose wisely.

Have a wonderful, celebratory July 4th, and we’ll see you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

PS GOOD NEWS: Today, you can help out your local dairy farmers by having a second bowl of ice cream!


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