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Picking and purpose

Apple picking on the farm has begun! Today we started the harvest by picking some of the unique heirloom varieties, before beginning the big Monty’s Surprise harvest next weekend, which is the biggest variety on the farm (in amount and size!). We picked apples with names like Pineapple Delicious (not kidding), Kid’s Orange (also not kidding), and Merton Russet.

We’ve been dreaming of blending these apples into delicious products like craft cider, probiotic apple juice, and apple pies. Before getting stuck in, we decided to pause for a moment and think about how we could best approach this task. We came up with a simple system — label each tree with a number, count the number of crates as a rough estimate of yield, record the flavour profiles, and measure the Brix levels to get an idea of their sugar content. Flavour testing was particularly fun as we intuitively created a profile which included sweet, sour, tart, and tang (that tang!), as well as noting the texture of the flesh and thickness of the skin.

Establishing this basic system, which we will no doubt improve, allows us to experiment with the flavour profiles of juice and food, as we know exactly what amounts we’re working with. We’ll also be able to monitor growth of the varieties each year. There’s an important lesson here — taking a little time to organise our approach helps us immensely down the track. How often do you do that in your life? I mean, it seems more important than picking apples. Do you ever stop and take stock of what you’re spending your time doing and how each type of activity affects your wellbeing? You could continue to get stuck into life and get stuff done, but you might find that pausing and getting out pen and paper really helps you get that delicious flavour profile in your life.

My advice is to start the process with brainstorming. Imagine what you would be doing in your ideal life and write down what comes up. You could also do this with a friend who knows you well. Consider different life areas — your home, relationships, learning, rest and rejuvenation, the outdoors, interests and hobbies, creativity, and how you would be making a living, etc. Once you’ve finished the brainstorm, start putting the items into themes and see if you can label them and put them into sentences.

From there, start asking yourself why you get wellbeing from each theme and dig deeper until the way you describe the theme really hits home for you. Once you have written each theme, you can write day to day actions underneath them, which serve to bring the themes to life. When you are done, get a big piece of paper and write each theme down with the actions around it. You can use this to check in on your decision making and ensure that you're making time for each theme in your life, so they become balanced over time and you feel fulfilled. You’ll become a delicious beverage or apple pie in no time.

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