Clear-cut tragedy; Making hay out of apple orchard.Byline: Gerard F. Russell
CHARLTON - An effort to preserve a piece of the town's agricultural history has failed.
Apple trees at the once thriving Fay Mountain Farm orchard are being cut down this week and fed to a wood chipper chipper Drug slang An occasional user of illicit drugs. See Recreational drug use Tobacco A popular term for a person who smokes < 5 cigarettes/day, who may be resistant to nicotine dependence or addiction, and often born to non-smoking parents. .
The town bought the 64-acre Fay Mountain Farm off Stafford Street in 2002 for $450,000 with the help of a state agricultural conservation grant. The deal between the town and state required the town to care for the orchard and produce an annual crop.
The state Division of Conservation Services awarded the town $250,000 toward the purchase. Another $200,000 was awarded by the Masonic Home through the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture.
The farm was once the childhood home of Dr. William T.G. Morton William Thomas Green Morton (August 9, 1819 - July 15, 1868) was an American dentist and physician. He was born in Charlton, Massachusetts. He received his (honorary) M.D. at Washington University in Baltimore in 1852. , a dentist dentist /den·tist/ (den´tist) a person with a degree in dentistry and authorized to practice dentistry.
A person who is trained and licensed to practice dentistry. who in 1846 discovered the anesthetic anesthetic
Agent that produces a local or general loss of sensation, including pain, and therefore is useful in surgery and dentistry. General anesthesia induces loss of consciousness, most often using hydrocarbons (e.g. properties of ether ether, in chemistry
ether, any of a number of organic compounds whose molecules contain two hydrocarbon groups joined by single bonds to an oxygen atom. . The farmhouse, though, was not part of the town's purchase.
The Gilmore family was the most recent owner of the farm, from the 1970s until Ruth Gilmore sold the property to the town in 2002.
When the town needed someone to run the orchard, the town accepted a proposal from Richard Gilmore Richard Gilmore (born January 1943) is a fictional character on the television series Gilmore Girls, played by Edward Herrmann.
Richard is the father of Lorelai Gilmore, grandfather of Rory Gilmore, and husband of Emily Gilmore on the WB television program , Ruth's son, and his wife, Donna. They signed a contract with the town to run the farm and produce a crop, but they walked away from the farm last year. The town has been unable to find someone else to take on the task. The couple operated the farm with a community garden for four years, but they did not produce an apple crop.
Karen Gauvin, the town's conservation administrator with the Conservation Commission, said the Gilmores could not get the trees to produce fruit.
"From what I understand, they were not able to get the trees back to the apple status to produce. Too much time had gone by," she said.
"People thought the trees were not as far gone as they were until the town took it over. The trees had not been maintained," she said.
After the Gilmores left, the commission sought other proposals for operators without success.
As a result, apple trees are being cut down and land will be cleared to grow grass for the production of hay, Ms. Gauvin said.
"We need to produce a crop. The apples were not producing," she said.
Ms. Gauvin said she did not know how many trees would be cut, or how many acres would be cleared, to grow hay. The state Department of Agricultural Resources will determine how much of the property will be farmed, she said.
"I believe they are taking down enough trees to satisfy the production of hay," she said, referring other questions to commission members.
A call to Thomas O'Malley For the former lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, see .
Thomas David Patrick O'Malley (1903-1979) of Milwaukee was a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin from 1933 to 1939. He was a Democrat.
It can also refer to a character in Disney's "The Aristocats". , commission chairman, was not returned. Calls to other members also were not returned.
The commission voted Feb. 6 to turn the apple orchard into hay fields, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a letter from Thomas O'Malley, Conservation Commission chairman.
"In 2007 an Agricultural Preservation Restriction representative (Michele Padula) met with local officials and informed them that it was imperative that Fay Mountain Farm be farmed, even if it meant removing the abandoned apple trees and seeding the land for a hay crop," Mr. O'Malley said in a letter to Gerry Foskett, highway superintendent.
Highway Department workers are cutting the trees.
Before the commission determined what to do with the farm, it sought advice from the state and Keith R. Arsenault, town treasurer, who also owns the 14-acre Ragged rag·ged
1. Tattered, frayed, or torn: ragged clothes.
2. Dressed in tattered or threadbare clothes: a ragged scarecrow.
3. Hill Orchard in West Brookfield.
"The trees had been let go too long. It would probably be close to impossible, and certainly not profitable, to bring them back," Mr. Arsenault said.
He added that the "best thing for the property was to bring it back to a hay field" because of some of the diseased dis·eased
1. Affected with disease.
2. Unsound or disordered. trees.
He said the trees had not had
a good nutritional program or pruning pruning, the horticultural practice of cutting away an unwanted, unnecessary, or undesirable plant part, used most often on trees, shrubs, hedges, and woody vines. , and mice had chewed at the root systems. Also, invasive vines had wrapped themselves around the trees
"They should take everything down," he said.
Mr. Arsenault said it was not good to allow diseased trees to remain there.
Town Administrator Robin Craver crave
v. craved, crav·ing, craves
1. To have an intense desire for. See Synonyms at desire.
2. To need urgently; require.
3. To beg earnestly for; implore. said the state preservation and agricultural restrictions on the property require the town to farm about 22 acres. Taking the apple trees down was not something the town wanted to do, she said.
"There were lengthy discussions. Unfortunately, the town is not in the position to maintain the trees adequately," she said.
Mrs. Craver explained, "This was not done lightly. I think individual members agonized ag·o·nize
v. ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing, ag·o·niz·es
1. To suffer extreme pain or great anguish.
2. To make a great effort; struggle.
v.tr. over this."
The state approved the town's decision.
Robert O'Connor For the author of the same name see Robert O'Connor (author)
Robert O'Connor (born 22 January, 1986) is an Irish singer/songwriter. Musical beginnings , state director of land and forest conservation, said, "We met with the town and determined the apple trees were too far gone to save and had not been maintained for so long."
Former Selectman se·lect·man
One of a board of town officers chosen annually in New England communities to manage local affairs.
Noun 1. selectman - an elected member of a board of officials who run New England towns Tammra Russell, who led the effort to buy the farm in 2001, said yesterday she was disappointed at the news.
"That is pretty sad," Mrs. Russell said.
Mrs. Russell, who moved to Tennessee a couple of years ago, said, "I am saddened that the town was unable to either get new farmers to come in and continue the orchard or establish some sort of community garden that could continue the operation and produce local produce, especially in a time of economic hardship."
The site: The town bought the 64-acre Fay Mountain Farm off Stafford Street in Charlton in 2002 for $450,000 with the help of a state agricultural conservation grant.
The history: The farm was once the childhood home of Dr. William T.G. Morton, a dentist who in 1846 discovered the anesthetic properties of ether.
The conclusion: The commission voted Feb. 6 to turn the apple orchard into hay fields.
ART: PHOTOS, MAP
CUTLINE: (1) Workers from the Charlton Highway Department clear apple trees yesterday at Fay Mountain Farm. (2) Fay Mountain Farm as seen in this 2006 file photo. (3) Blueberries grow behind the pond at Fay Mountain Farm in Charlton, part of a town public land trust, in this 2005 file photo. (MAP) Fay Mountain Farm Orchard
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer. : (1, 2) T&G Staff/DAN GOULD (3) T&G File Photo/JIM COLLINS (MAP) T&G Staff