Elementary students from St. Ambrose Catholic and Towslee Elementary schools had the chance to plant 300 fruit trees at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick on Friday and learn about farming.
Mapleside owner Greg Clement said bringing the kids out allowed them to have a hands-on opportunity to learn about root systems, farming and apple trees.
“We decided to invite all the schools in Brunswick,” he said.
On Friday morning, fourth-graders from St. Ambrose and fifth-graders from Brunswick Schools arrived, ready to work.
Clement said the idea to invite schoolchildren to help with the planting came from the Rev. Bob Stec at St. Ambrose.
“I told Father Bob about the planting we were doing, and he said he can think of a lot of free labor,” Clement said laughing. “We were joking, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to show the kids how we do planting.”
Clement billed the event as “Apple Earth Day.”
Before Friday, Clement and his staff dug 300 holes in preparation for the planting.
“We tried to make it as easy as possible,” he said.
Students took a hayride from the Pearl Road parking lot into the apple fields, and then Clement had his farm staff, and members of his software company, Realeflow, help students plant trees.
“I told them they could get out of the office for the day to help here,” he said.
With the 300 apple trees planted Friday, Clement said it brings the tree total to 4,500. He hopes to plant about 1,000 or so each year for the next five years. The goal is to plant new apple varieties to offer customers.
“Right now, we have about a dozen varieties,” he said. “But I want to have 24 or 25 varieties.”
To learn more about the farm, visit www.mapleside.com.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.