“Michael was an original, a brilliant contrarian, a dedicated innovator. We will have to step up to continue his important work. He rightly identified the growing of apples within Nature’s system – without heroic but toxic chemistry, with attention to the whole orchard and its surrounding community – as a global necessity, and thoughtfully devised ways to record and test his thinking, and share his successes with a needful world. While we are surely less without him, the times demand that we respond to the challenge, even though we know that working together without him will be less. His death leaves a big hole in my heart.”—Michael Potts
Holistic Orchard Intensive Workshop
with Mike Biltonen, of Know Your Roots
Dates: June 8th & 9th, 2024
For many years Michael offered an Orchard Intensive Weekend here at our Lost Nation Orchard. This annual event has been a long time favorite. This year, Gracie will give a tour of our Lost Nation Orchard and we have invited Mike Biltonen to carry on this tradition as our featured teacher. Mike is an experienced teacher whose orchard work and philosophy aligns with ours.
This “organic apple everything” weekend inspires people to pursue their own orchard dreams. Come gain the practical insights needed to establish your own fruit planting based on the biological systems approach used here at Lost Nation Orchard.
Holistic orcharding involves a wide breadth of knowledge and timeliness, yet one fact stands clear — we can have beautiful apples grown without chemical intervention. Sustainable agriculture works only when we have fun and get people involved with growing healthy food. Our workshops point the way for organic apple growers to meet their unique site challenges.
Mike Biltonen will lead participants in a walk through the orchard season. He will discuss the key role understory management and soil health plays in an organic orchard, and look at varietal and rootstock choices. Tree planting, pruning, grafting, branch training, and trunk protection will be woven into our time together along with a look at righteous equipment for the small-scale orchard. Mike will also identify insect and disease dynamics from a holistic perspective aimed at achieving maximum diversity, pointing out a few of the culprits and beneficial allies on hand around bloom time. Saturday evening includes a special farm to table four course meal paired with regional ciders and lots of good fellowship with other apple lovers.
Dates: This Orchard Intensive begins Saturday morning on June 8 at 10:00 and runs through Sunday afternoon June 9, till 4 ish.
Cost: $350 includes instruction, materials, meals (Saturday lunch and special farm to table dinner and cider tasting on Saturday evening; breakfast and lunch on Sunday).
To send a check, use the registration link below and choose check payments. Make check out to: Heartsong Farm. Mail to: 859 Lost Nation Road, Northumberland, NH 03582
Enroll now to join our 2024 group! Pay in full to secure your place or send in your nonrefundable $150 deposit. Final balance payments due by check at the beginning of May and are nonrefundable after this date. Cost of deposit nonrefundable upon cancelation. For more information please contact us at HeartsongFarmWellness@gmail.com.
About Mike Biltonen
Mike has spent nearly 40 years in agriculture – working mostly with orchards, vineyards, and specialty veg and fruit crops. He specializes in all aspects of sustainable orchard production of apples, pears, and stone fruit. An early passion for sustainable agriculture evolved into a profound dedication to the principles and practices of ecologically-focused, biodynamically-driven farming. The last fifteen years Mike has worked as a consultant to novice and seasoned farmers and orchardists alike on all aspects of establishing and managing regenerative and integrated farmscapes. Mike also conducts workshops, seminars, webinars, and has a free newsletter for the truly dedicated. He co-owns Know Your Roots, a novel and innovative family-owned company, with his wife Debbie where they are synchronously using farming and herbalism practices to heal the Earth. https://knowyouroots.com/index.html
Enroll here online or send a check
John Bunker (photo by Laura Sieger)
New Program in 2024!
Holistic Orchard Apprenticeship Course
8 Month Program Learning from Expert Orchardists
Heartsong Farm is a small 57 acre diversified farm in northern New Hampshire. With 350 apple trees and over 100 varieties in our Lost Nation Orchard, this is a great place to learn about orcharding.
We are happy to announce that we have an outstanding team of experienced orchardists to teach our Holistic Orchard Apprenticeship Program beginning in March and running through October 2024 here at Lost Nation Orchard. Our guest teachers will honor and carry Michael’s work forward adding their own experience and expertise to the course. Michael’s books, The Apple Grower, The Holistic Orchard and his Holistic Orcharding videos will enhance our curriculum and enrich the live hands-on learning at Lost Nation Orchard. We meet one Friday a month for eight months to give you a strong foundation in holistic orcharding.
“Growing your own fruit becomes downright fun once you understand organic principles and take them to heart. Working with Nature using biological methods makes home orcharding a venture that families can enjoy for years to come. Orcharding holistically- by stewarding ecosystem connections and overall health- means you’ll experience nutrient dense fruit with real flavor and no anxiety about pesticide residues. We are also willing to bet you will discover a core part of you being, that place where humans find happiness and meaning as we embrace our rootedness on this precious planet.” ~Michael Phillips
We are honored to host: John Bunker from Fedco Trees, Hugh Williams from Threshold Farm, Mike Biltonen from Know Your Roots, Matt Kaminsky of Gnarly Pippin and Laura Sieger from Fedco Trees and more orchardists TBA soon.
Topics will include but not be limited to: Building Orchard Health, Planting and Training Young Trees, Grafting, Diversity in the Orchard, Pruning, Holistic Sprays, Insect Balance, Choosing Varieties for Northern Zones, Heirloom Apples, Livestock in the Orchard, Biodynamics, Blending and Making Cider, and much more!
Lost Nation Orchard continues to be an educational place where interested folks can delve into Michael’s work, explore a variety of holistic orcharding practices, spend time interacting with the trees (and apple lovers) and especially experience the magic of the orchard. Join us for this life enhancing experience.
Dates: We meet one Friday a month, except for June when we meet for a two day Orchard Intensive Weekend. March 15, April 19, May 10, June 8 & 9, July 12, August 9, September 13, and October 18.
Class Times: 10:00am-5:00pm
Program Cost: $1250 This includes: Instruction, manual, Michael’s books (The Apple Grower, The Holistic Orchard, and online digital videos and/or DVD) , lunches, The Orchard Intensive Weekend including Farm to Table celebration
Special Early Bird Price–$1050
*Discount available until February 15!
Enroll now to join our 2024 group! Pay in full to secure your place or send in your nonrefundable $250 deposit. Final balance payments due by check at the beginning of March and are nonrefundable after this date. Cost of deposit nonrefundable upon cancelation. For more information please contact us at HeartsongFarmWellness@gmail.com.
Enroll here online or send a check
“I mark as an important life pivot my experience of coming to see the deep web of natural relationships outside through your books and the June intensive. Once you grasp the paradigm and gain the tools to engage and observe, the practice is endlessly fascinating. Entry for me was the key and I have you to thank for that.”
~Pete Lankford –Orchard Intensive Student
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