Pietree Orchard
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Name:                Pietree Orchard

Address:            803 Waterford Road

                           Sweden, Maine 04040

Phone:                207-647-9419

Website:            www.pietreeorchards.com

Email:                pietree@pietree-orchard.com

Facebook:          facebook.com/PietreeOrchard

Products and Services:

-farm store

-accessibility for everyone

-apples  (55 varieties)


-peaches  (11 varieties)

-strawberries (15 varieties)

-raspberries (6 varieties)

-vegetables (over 100 varieties)


-picnic area

-fresh-pressed cider

-baked goods

-handmade gifts

-educational talks

-farm tours


-special events

-maple syrup

What Makes Pietree Orchard Unique?

So many aspects of the Pietree Orchard operation set it apart to contribute towards a discussion of its uniqueness.  The orchard is situated in a stunning location with an amazing selection of fifty-five types of apples, including many rare heirloom varieties.  The investment that has been allocated to energy saving technology is immediately apparent with the wind turbine and the large solar collector.  The farm store is filled with an abundance of fresh produce, baked goods, and unusual gifts.  There is a massive stone oven for making pizza and artisan bread, a large selection of vegetables, and a cider making facility. 

While Unique Maine Farms has chosen to

highlight many of the highly visible unique aspects of Pietree Orchard that were mentioned above through the inclusion of many photos, the focus of this profile will be centered on some of the underlying attributes of the farm that truly set it apart.  Inherent to the Pietree Orchard operation is an all-inclusiveness and a distinct awareness of creating an environment that is welcoming to people of all abilities.  Fairness, sensitivity, and respect are all qualities that are cultivated at this farm.  Fostering collaboration with local farmers and the surrounding community is a top priority.

Although Pietree Orchard is situated in a rather remote area, the farm has been very successful in drawing many people to the property that overlooks the White Mountains.  Various programs for school groups, community groups, and motorcoaches are conducted.  Every weekend during apple season, free wagon rides are available.  Summer camps and diverse groups enjoy talks and educational programs. A conscious effort has been made to assure that every visitor will have the opportunity to completely experience the orchards, fields, and farm store, despite a person’s physical disabilities that so often create barriers in exploring farm properties.  Pietree Orchard has reached out to various programs that have been established to help others such as the Fresh Air project, Camp Susan Curtis, and Camp Wigwam.

Naomi King, who describes her role at Pietree Orchard, as the “Business Monkey,”  has firsthand experience with mobility issues because of a degenerative condition that has resulted in her having to rely on a wheelchair.

When her health deteriorated to the point that

she was considering leaving the farm, she was hooked up with the Maine AgrAbility program and this connection turned out to be a real blessing.

For the past four years, the Maine AgrAbility program has been a collaborative effort of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill of Northern New England, and Alpha One.  These agencies work together to assist farmers with a chronic health condition or disability.  Some of the conditions that are addressed through this program include arthritis, spinal cord injuries, back impairments, visual and hearing loss, cerebral palsy, head injuries, and disabling diseases.

Maine AgrAbility assessed Naomi King’s work commitments and some of the challenges that the farm presented and came up with some recommendations that would enable her to remain in her management position at Pietree.  She was able to acquire a specially-made wheelchair that was designed to navigate rough terrain.  The seat on the wheelchair lifts so that she or any occupant can reach up to five feet.  Maine AgrAbility recommended that Naomi have a personal assistant and the addition of Alexandra Tomaso to the staff has proven most beneficial.  A sense of camaraderie is evidenced at Pietree. The lunchtime meal at the orchard is often a communal event and the food is frequently prepared by Naomi.

An architect offered suggestions to make the Pietree Orchard property more accessible.   The width of doorways and restrooms were adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs.  A ramp was built so that Naomi could access the area where the emergency control station is situated.  Automatic door openers were installed.  Special overhangs were constructed on the picnic tables so that wheelchairs could be accommodated.  Smaller picnic tables were constructed for the youngsters who visit the farm.   The hay bale maze was designed to be accessible for everyone.

Naomi discussed how the free services provided by AgrAbility proved invaluable to Pietree Orchard and to her personally.  Maine AgrAbility conducted educational training on health and safety for the Pietree employees.  A heightened awareness about the challenges that disabled individuals face was one of the results of the training.  A staged approach is in the works to change the width of the rows in the fields to accommodate wheelchairs.  When disabled individuals visit the farm, transportation is provided for them to the pick-your-own fields.

Although AgrAbility has no funds to distribute, they can assist individuals in locating possible funding sources such as grant and loan programs from various entities to address needs for any specialized equipment or construction projects.

Lani Carlson, the Project Coordinator of Maine AgrAbility discussed the support and input that Naomi King has contributed back to the program’s mission.  Naomi has become a member of the Maine AgrAbility Advisory Council and her insights and suggestions have been greatly appreciated.

Pietree Orchard’s sensitivity to others and their commitment to the respect and dignity of every individual has been demonstrated in various ways.  Naomi King is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who shares daily reflections on twitter. The farm has participated in efforts that work towards the eradication of domestic violence. Pietree Orchard has been generous to local food banks and extremely supportive of promoting local agriculture.  Many of the baked goods and gifts in the farm store come from local artisans. Pietree participates in local farmers’ markets, Chamber of Commerce events, and community gatherings.  The school tours that are conducted at the farm are specifically aligned with the Maine learning standards.

Scott Vlaun of Moose Pond Arts and Ecology

has been a consultant at Pietree Orchards over the past year.  He has contributed a permaculture focus to the farm working towards increasing sustainability and biodiversity.  It is hoped that the innovative and diverse systems that he is helping to introduce will serve as a model to be replicated by other farms. Vlaun commented that Pietree Orchard has focused heavily on promoting the local food movement and encouraging collaborations among farmers. There have been discussions about shared storage and distribution efforts.  He praised the farm for creating so many jobs and training so many local people to learn to become food growers.  Pietree consciously strives to promote activities that bring farmers together and to avoid competing with the local farms in the area.

They publish educational newsletters and maintain a Facebook page that addresses farm developments and that shares helpful tips and many nutritional recipes.

Many apple orchards in Maine are able to survive because of the contributions of Jamaican guest workers.  Pietree Orchard used to employ the workers from Jamaica and greatly valued their work ethic and their amazing skills and production levels.  The orchard took issue with the many restrictions that were set in place to employ the workers and the inability to reward the workers for their outstanding efforts because of federal legislation prohibiting this in the H-2A Visa program.  Pietree decided to no longer support the guest worker program because of the many inequities that were inherent in the program.  This decision reflects the way that Pietree attempts to conduct its operation in a socially responsible manner.

So many changes have transpired since the McSherry family ran the orchard years ago. Tabitha King, mother of Naomi, had a vision for the property that involved many modifications to the farm.  Pietree Orchard has been extremely progressive in the way that they have enthusiastically embraced energy saving technology with their wind turbine and their solar panel.  When the King family purchased the farm in 2007, only apples and pumpkins were being grown.  At the present time,  there has been a major expansion of products that are offered.

Scott Miller, an orchardist with a career that spans over thirty years, and who is fondly called the “Apple Doc,” has worked tirelessly to transform part of the orchard to organic production. Many heirloom varieties have been planted and Pietree has donated several trees to MOFGA’s orchard in Unity.  Through Miller’s expertise and dedication, the orchards at Pietree Orchard are truly spectacular.  So many individuals navigate to Pietree because of the quality of the apples and the variety of pick-your-own crops that will eventually include blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins, cherries, peas, beans, herbs, raspberries, and flowers.

Dan Cousins, the Farm Manager at Pietree, has been instrumental in the development of the strawberry and blueberry crops, as well as in the expansion of vegetable offerings that are grown in the fields.  With his many years as a greenhouse grower, he is looking forward to

helping out in  the greenhouses that are planned in the future for seedlings production and an extended growing season.

All the changes that have taken place at Pietree Orchard are most impressive.  The rural nature and the peaceful surroundings of the farm were spared from development.  The farm’s emphasis on promoting the local food movement and healthy eating are worthy of recognition.  But, perhaps one of the most significant developments at Pietree Orchard is the fact that every effort has been made to promote a sense of fairness and equality by transforming the entire property into an agricultural destination that welcomes every single individual, no matter what their disability.

From left:  Dan Cousins - Farm Manager; Naomi

King - “Business Monkey;” and orchardist Scott

Miller - the “Apple Doc.”

Farm Store -Food ItemsPietree_Farm_Store.html
Energy ConsciousnessPietree_Environmental.html
The FieldsPietree_The_Fields.html
Around the FarmPietree_Around_the_Farm.html
Community PartnershipsPietree_Community_Partnerships.html
MOFGA Orchard TreesPietree_Apple_Trees_-_MOFGA.html