by Lori Cochran
Raise your hand if you make a mental note to avoid Sport Hill Road between Center and Banks every fall. Come on, no one is watching. The traffic that we avoid equals success for Silverman Farm and our community.
Why is that? Successful farms preserve open space, provide jobs and help Easton retain its agrarian roots. Silverman’s Farm has created a thriving business through a combination of hard work, research, knowledge, love of farming and a commitment to a dynamic business model.
Those traffic lines and droves of smiling faces do not just appear by sheer luck. A total of 15,000 trees located on 50 acres and three farmers pruning daily from January to May (apples in the winter and peaches in the spring) is just the beginning. Silverman’s effort to bring the best apples and peaches to Easton is no small task. Trees are an investment of time and the payoff it is a gamble against weather, disease, insects and competition from other orchards.
To grow and diversify, Irv introduces 10% of new varieties each year in his plantings. He continuously follows the latest studies to determine the best apples to plant and looks for more naturally resistant varieties. Do you love blueberries? Silverman will have your fix with 2,000 freshly planted bushes this year for a pick-your-own offering. You might have noticed the grapes growing alongside the road this year. Table and wine grapes will be offered at Silverman’s in the coming years. Get your wine making kits now.
When I asked him what variety of apples he currently grows, Irv promptly pulled out his notebook and started listing the 18 types with descriptions of why he felt they were good for the farm and “most importantly” how they tasted. This personal connection to the trees is an example of the care and diligence Irv puts into his farming.
The addition of heirloom varieties was the perfect lead in for my inquiry about the recent popularity of hard cider varietals. Irv explained that during the 1800s, all of the apples in this area were cider apples, and we discussed his family’s long history of making their own cider at the farm.
In the 1900s shoppers began requesting apples that looked more like the apples we are seeing today with a sweeter taste. Irv tossed out an idea that sounds quite fun — what if there was a cider trail just like the wine trails?
Today, Silverman’s consists of a thriving farm, country store and floral business. With all this, what drives Irv to continue to improve his business and farm? First, he is a family man and is proud to carry on the tradition that his father worked so hard to create.
Next, he is a business man and that is an asset in the farming industry. His creativeness and willingness to evolve with the times has benefited the farm and the community. He would say the key to his success is he loves what he does. I would have to agree with him there as the seven day a week career keeps him on his toes. To this point, he shared some words of wisdom for us all; “if you or a business stay static you will go backwards.”
Whether you are stopping by to grab a jug of cider, a fresh baked apple pie or just to say hello to Irv, Silverman’s is a welcoming spot to visit in our town. Although those few fall months are incredibly busy with outsiders, Silverman stays open year round for all of us here in Easton. It is truly another “grange” for us in Easton, and one we don’t mind sharing with the rest of the world each fall.
The Easton Agricultural Commission promotes agricultural interests in town and serves as a bridge between our farmers, the community, local and state government. The Ag Commission may be reached at EastonAgCom@gmail.com