As we announced last week, the annual Blessing of the Blossoms took place on Sunday, May 17, with a few changes this year due to social distancing and not being able to gather together as in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the Blessing included a streamed service at St. Joseph Catholic Church, with songs, scripture readings, and a message from the parish’s Father Ben Rexroat, who then ventured out (in the rain) to bless each OMP farm on the list with holy water.
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And it seems to have worked, because we now have cherry blossoms filling up the trees and orchards, and the bees are working overtime to get everything ready for the cherry harvest in a few months.
Here’s a picture of a busy bee from a couple of nights ago on Johnson Farms, my family’s farm next to our cooling pad about a half-mile north of Mapleton.
In fact, I had asked the folks at St. Joe’s to add Johnson Farms to the list of farms to be blessed with holy water (my brother, Dean Johnson: “We need a good crop!”), but was unsure of when exactly the blessing team might be by the farm on Sunday.
So after watching the live-stream of the St. Joe’s blessing service on Facebook, I headed up to the barn and texted my sister-in-law Teri, who met me there. We sat in our cars next to each other in the pouring rain and chatted through the windows for quite a while. Whatever else happened, it sure was great to see her and catch up!
After a while, I started to wonder if maybe since it was raining, they’d done the farm blessings the night before. So Teri and I said a little prayer over the farms and bid each other adieu.
I headed over to Warren’s Farm Stand on Island View Road (needing to replenish my stash of maple cream), and lo and behold, I saw the blessing team at Edmondson’s farm at the corner of Center Road and Island View. So I buzzed up to Warren’s, but by the time I got back to the corner, the blessing team had vanished.
Thinking maybe they were on their way to the Johnson barn, I made my way back to the barn, but alas, no blessing team. I knew some of the other farms that were on the list – Lyon’s farm, Buchan’s Blueberry Hill, Brys Estate, and so on and so forth – so I drove around a little hoping to catch them at another farm blessing. No such luck.
But what a “blessing” it is to have an official blessing team go around and bless all of the farms – and bless our OMP farms collectively, too. We are officially blessed! In more ways than one.
Georgia Holman graciously sent me a few photos of their farm blessing on Center Road. Thanks, Georgia! And thank you, Blessing Team, for setting our growing season off to a good start!