Patrick and Sean began Curlew Orchard in 2015. Right away, the two began transitioning the orchard to organic and diversifying beyond the Gala, Ambrosia, and Granny Smith varieties that already existed. To do so, they began to enrich the soil to build up nutrients and over the years some of the older trees began to bounce back. Patrick has an environmental and project management background and wanted to be more active in living what he had talked about and researched. The property is farmed in a climate-conscious way, an important contribution for Patrick and Sean. Patrick says, “Even if it is in our own small way and we aren’t reaching that many people. Even if we don’t have the most efficient crop, it’s really about being able to do something and support what we want for our family”. Implementing their mitigation practices in small ways is an important step in the right direction. “I think so many things need to change, we’re surrounded by proof that mass change is needed,” says Patrick. “So really it’s about what little things we can start implementing to make it easier, practical and more enticing.”
Climate change is affecting farms differently depending on geography. Patrick shares, “In the short time we’ve been here, each year has been so different.” Their first two summers were hot and impacted by area forest fires, with ash falling onto trees, while the latter two were fairly wet, followed by this year. The winters have brought incredible amounts of snow up until this year. For Curlew Orchard, it is the extremes and unpredictability that make managing production difficult. Not only are they adapting to the changing climate, but Patrick and Sean are also doing what they can to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the orchard.