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Conserving an Orchard



 Conserving an Orchard

Previous and current Shelburne Farm owners Jean and David Lynch had owned Shelburne Farm for decades. When David passed away in 1993, Jean found it difficult to maintain the 110-acre orchard.  But she  hesitated to sell because she feared that the next buyer would cut down the apple trees and develop the land.  

Shelburne Farm conserved landSeveral conservation groups teamed up with Jean to find a solution that saved the orchard and conserved the land.  Fifty-eight acres of the orchard were accepted into the state Agricultural Preservation Restriction  program.  APR compensates owners who permanently restrict their land to agricultural use.   In 1998, Liz and Ted Painter realized their dream by purchasing Shelburne Farm from Jean.  The day of this picture, Jean had stopped by to answer questions and pass on some experience to Liz.

The remaining 42 acres were woodland unsuitable for farming.  Jean asked Stow to purchase this land, and town meeting overwhelmingly accepted.  The conservation groups also helped Stow obtain a self-help grant toward the cost.  Another neighbor granted 3.5 additional acres to provide access to woodlands and the 38 adjoining acres that were already protected by a conservation restriction.