Under the shadow of a stressful pandemic, the skies opened up as a warm autumn sun spilled down upon the huge crowds at Silverman’s Farm.  Irv Silverman drove about in his golf cart, talking with his staff and visitors to his farm.  The parking lots were filled to capacity, as hundreds of people meandered about the property.  

Behind the main store, a sea of orange pumpkins spread across the field. Children laughed and played as their parents took pictures, while others filled their wheelbarrows with pumpkins of different sizes and shapes. Up in the orchards, the last apples of the season were being picked. Within a few days, all would be gone from the pick-your-own orchard.  

“We shut it down on Tuesday,” Silverman said. “We always pick a good part of our orchard for our market and will have apples in storage until Christmas, but pick your own is over. The crop was much lighter this year because of a spring frost during blossom time. Most orchards will be done this week.”

Some trees blossom later than others — rather than all at the same time — which is how Mother Nature protects some apple varieties even when frost kills the blossoms of earlier varieties. The late frost also affected the peach crop, which was quite small this year. In addition to the late frost, the wet spring conspired against the apple crop. “Pollination bees don’t work in rainy weather,” Silverman said.

Inside the main building, everything from apple cider donuts to fruit pies was in hot demand. Outside, a huge tent was set up selling a large display of vegetables, fruits, and apples. It has become a yearly fall pilgrimage for people to come from all over the region to buy Silverman’s apples. The roads become so jammed that the Easton Police Department assigns an officer to conduct traffic in front of the farm at 451 Sport Hill Road in Easton, Conn.

Despite the smaller than usual apple crop, 10 varieties are available for purchase in the farm market this season: Macintosh Gala Red, Honey Crisp, Cortland, Matsu, Macoun, Red Rome, Golden Delicious, Empire and Fuji. A chart on the Silverman’s Farm website displays the full variety and qualities of apples grown on the farm.

“Because of Covid-19, people want to get outdoors and love walking in the orchard instead of a big supermarket,” Silverman said. “We have the farm market under the big tent. Fresh vegetables have become a very big thing. People see them and know they’re fresh.”

Apples, baked goods, and seasonal products will be on sale through the December holidays. Due to the pandemic, Silverman expects people to hunker down and celebrate their holiday traditions at home this year more than ever. Silverman’s and other farms in Easton, the Christmas Tree Capital of Connecticut, will have the trees and accouterments to observe the holidays in warmth and style.

A festive spirit filled the afternoon air as shoppers made their way to the cashier stations set up to weigh their pumpkins.  The diverse and multicultural crowd was mingling together as smiles and laughter filled the air from every direction. Everyone was there to enjoy the day and feel good for a while. There were no political divides.  No angry faces.  No hostility.  Everyone was there to share the day together.  Something we Americans could use a little more of these days.

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