Learning through the Lens of Food: Apples

Poetry, Place & Hearth: Apples

Food connects us. It’s an integral part of our cultural identity and is often prepared with the idea of sharing, giving, and enjoying together.  Nothing indicates the beginning of autumn and the fall harvest in Western Massachusetts like the crisp bite of a local apple picked right off the tree, or the sweet taste of a freshly baked apple pie.

Apple season is a beloved time of year in New England with apple orchards preserving our heritage, regional identity, and local landscape. By visiting pick-your-own apple orchards, we meet the farmers that grow our food, learn firsthand how apples grow, and engage in the seasonality of the land and the sense of belonging it instills within us. Traditional recipes, the scenic orchard landscapes, and the representation of apple-picking in literature and art remind us of how the apple has become a rich part of our cultural heritage.

Apples also have a place in the poetry of New England and specifically our region in Massachusetts. Two such poems include Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking”  and William Cullen Bryant’s “The Planting of an Apple-Tree.

As you explore local places and orchards, reread these poems from two of Western Massachusetts’ most cherished poets. Both poems offer the opportunity to reflect and recognize this long-standing tradition of harvesting apples.


Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Sept/Oct), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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