Early in the morning, Shirlee Wolf leaves her home in Flying Hills and drives up Route 10 to Weaver’s Orchard. Sometimes, as she picks fruit there, she’ll catch a gorgeous sunrise over the rolling hills. It’s so quiet, she notes of these early mornings in the orchard, adding that she also enjoys similar views and quiet when she comes to Weaver’s near closing time, when there’s “an hour yet to go,” she says.
Shirlee Wolf has been a regular Weaver’s Orchard customer since around 2004. She wants others to share in the peace and relaxation she experiences. She tried for years to convert her sister into a pick-your-own customer, and finally, she succeeded.
She also shares the pick-your-own experience with her son. When he and his kids visit, they come to the orchard.
When her son returns to his home, far from the orchard, she sends him fresh apples and pears she has picked. She ships the fruit UPS and it arrives the next day, kept fresh in a cooler.
Not only does she ship fresh fruit to her son, she also makes jam and pies and gives a lot of fruit away. She especially likes making a strawberry freezer jam (she uses the Sure-Jell recipe on the package). It always tastes like fresh strawberries, she says. It even won a blue ribbon at the Oley fair one year!
Shirlee loves sharing the fruits of her labor because she appreciates the quality of the produce. She has developed friendships with the staff, so she knows, for instance, that Justin Weaver, the production manager, is keeping the crops as pesticide-free as possible. She appreciates seeing Justin and Elizabeth’s kids in the orchard and knowing that the traditions are getting passed on to the next generation.
Shirlee has learned a lot about orchards by coming here year in and year out, picking all kinds of fruit throughout the season. She has learned, for instance, that the fields keep rotating. The ridge that is now full of pear and peach trees used to be full of strawberries! This, she knows, is for the health of the fruit trees and plants.
She marvels at how running an orchard is constant work, even in the winter. Being at the mercy of the weather like farmers are, she says, would “give me gray hairs like crazy!”
Shirlee has made many friends at Weaver’s. She got to know a whole family of Weaver’s staff, the Hertzler family, who contribute a great deal to the orchard. Linda leads Read ‘n’ Pick Story Time, Linda’s daughter Katie worked in pick-your-own, and Linda’s son Brandon and daughter Karalee launched this summer’s Orchard Explorers Workshops. Shirlee became so close with the family that she even attended Katie Hertzler’s bridal shower and wedding.
These are exactly the kinds of connections Weaver’s wants to foster. We are grateful that Shirlee has been a loyal customer for well over a decade, and we hope you will also find the orchard to be a peaceful place to enjoy nature, pick fruit, and get to know others in your community.