4 October 2018

The Importance of Orchards

People who have known me for a while, remember the jewelry shop I owned on New York’s Madison Avenue. It was called J. Mavec & Company. Make sense, right? I’m Janet Mavec. So why, on this green earth, did I name my new designs and shop Orchard, rather than J. Mavec Jewelry?

This is the answer to my most asked question. I live in Manhattan, but I spend as much time as possible on our farm in New Jersey.

Birdhaven Farm in New Jersey

Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo

This beautiful slice of acreage doesn’t just have a couple apple trees.   Bird Haven Farm has got apple trees galore... and peaches, chestnuts, figs, plums, and a few pear trees mixed up in there, too.

Birdhaven Farm in New Jersey
Birdhaven Farm in New Jersey

When I first came to the farm, I was intrigued by the trees and asked a pomologist from Rutgers University to come to the property to assess the current state of apple affairs. The apple trees stumped. They stumped the pomologist. The varieties, he said, were so ancient that he couldn’t ID them.

It’s on this farm, among these gnarled branches, that I find the greatest inspiration. Apple juice is the lifeblood of Bird Haven. From them was born an annual cider party that brings our family and friends together to play, talk, and make cider.

Birdhaven Farm in New Jersey

Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo

So I guess I could have called it Nature Jewelry or Garden Jewels or even J. Mavec, but I’m in love with the orchards and the mystery of their origin. The word itself has strength. The bounty has seeded so many friendships. An orchard isn’t simply a grove of fruit trees, it’s a gathering of our community. It’s a rite of passage from late summer to fall.