An Open letter to our neighbors in Mount Juliet.
I would really like to say thank you to all the people who have come out to support us this summer. We have really loved talking with you, hearing your stories, cherishing your memories and learning so much from all of you.
It has been brought to our attention that there are some rumors swirling around out there about the Orchard.
Rather than let them swirl and grow and perpetuate, we would rather address them head on.
First, to all of our Beckwith neighbors who have taken the time to stop by and ask us to our face what’s going on. Thank you. Thank you very much. It feels much better to talk things out.
To all who have wanted to stop by and haven’t made it here yet, come on up. We would love to look you in the eye and hopefully set your mind at ease that we want to be good neighbors.
We have never had any plans to turn into the northern version of Bonnaroo or to be the next Starwood. We are an orchard in the middle of a residential neighborhood, that’s crazy talk.
We have no plans to tear down the store. We are so proud of the work we’ve done to the store. It’s beyond beautiful. We are constantly working to improve the look and feel of the store and only plan to keep improving it in the years to come. If anything, I would like to finish it by concreting the patio and putting fans and misters/heater out there with more picnic benches.
The Breeden’s put 45 years of blood, sweat and tears into this place on top of the hill. They have probably forgotten more about peaches and apples than we will ever learn. They had a successful orchard supported by the community. That is what we want also, the love and support of the community. And trust me, people loved the Breeden’s and this special place.
Do we plan to make some more changes up here? Absolutely. We may have saved the place from turning into another housing community, but we are not doing this to be altruistic. We are doing this to be entrepreneurs. As such, we would like to make this as successful a business as possible. If you have spoken with me, I have quite possibly uttered the following words … “I like to throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks”. Obviously, the peaches and apples “stick”, the fried pies “stick”, the slushies, the honey, our jams and sauces “stick”. We are working on ideas and concepts of what will be the next things to “stick”.
So, to address the changes that are coming down the pike.
- We have pulled out approximately 1/4 of the orchard’s oldest fruit trees. We have already purchased 180 new peach trees (7 different varieties including the much sought after Red Havens and White Peaches), 150 apple trees, 10 fig trees, and 10 persimmon trees. Replanting of the trees will take place this winter after the soil has been amended. So please if you see an open patch in the orchard, know that it will be full with fruit trees once more, it is just going to take some time.
- In 3 to 4 years’ time, we will pull out the other 1/2 of the front of the orchard for more replanting.
- We want to host farmers markets, craft and artisan fairs and seasonal family days. Knowing that this will increase traffic on Beckwith Road, we would like to work with our neighbors who are trying to get a stop light at Beckwith and 70. It was needed even before we got here and we agree that it is needed for the safety of our neighborhood.
- We are starting a solar project on the roof of the store within the next few weeks. We will be feeding energy back into the grid. We would love to talk to you more about our solar project and of course tell the kids about it.
- We have no idea when the pond on the property last held water, but we would like to re-line it and use it for irrigation and stock it for kids to come and fish.
- Yes, we did take down part of the house. But we did it with so much care and salvaged everything we could. We can show you the history of the house, with many of the boards inside the store. Let us tell you where this board came from, or the tin, or the shiplap.
- Where the house stands, we plan to build a small event barn. We hope to have weddings, corporate retreats, and yoga or meditation classes. We want to build a place where today’s generation can create the same memories that so many people have told us about. We want kids to watch a tree grow from 36 inches to where it is taller than them. We want them to pick peaches and apples and then come back up here and take their prom picture in front of the barn. Then one day we want them to get married in that barn and then, God willing, bring their kids up to pick apples and peaches and tell their kids the story of the trees and the orchard and the cider and pies and whatever else we come up with that “sticks”.
We would love for any of the concerned folks of Mt. Juliet to come and visit us, talk to us, ask questions, share concerns and give us feedback and yes, even criticism. We want this to place to be a special place for everyone for generations to come.