Jerry Mills, the owner and founder of Mills Apple Farm, is glad that no two days are ever the same – it means that no two days are ever boring.
Most folks wake up and eat breakfast with a news program on in the background. Some might go for a jog or take a dog for a walk before driving to work. Things are done a bit differently at Mills Apple Farm. It’s a family farm, so everyone has to pitch in. The hours are long, but everyone enjoys working them, and that’s what matters most.
On a “typical” day, Jerry wakes with the sun to the sound of a crowing rooster. After eating a hearty breakfast, he begins his workday; this is usually around 7 a.m. He starts by completing the routine tasks: a zoo of farm animals needs care, machinery needs to be repaired, and the orchards and fields need tending.
Meanwhile, Jerry’s daughter, Sherry, arrives at 9 a.m. to run the store, which sells in-season produce, baked goods, preserves, and specialty items. Yoda, a large grey tomcat, is also on hand to help … when he isn’t idyllically napping on top of the cash register.
Meanwhile, mother-daughter team Charlotte Seifried and Lindsey Seifried-Turley buzz through the bakery, making pies, cakes, and cookies. Sometimes, they recruit Jerry to make piecrust, which is a top-secret recipe; after all, Mills Apple Farm pies consistently win awards at the Madison County Fair.
At noon, the Mills Apple Farm family eats lunch together while comparing the proverbial apples and oranges of the day. Customers are still trickling into the store, so all eyes habitually watch the front door.
After lunch, Charlotte and Lindsey finish baking and clean the kitchen before going home, while (Shhhhh!) Jerry occasionally sneaks away to take a nap. After his nap, he still has several more tasks to occupy his time. It’s a large farm, and there’s always mowing or watering to do. Sometimes he needs to run into town for more supplies.
By 6 p.m. the to-do lists have been completed, and folks are going home. Jerry, a true workaholic, is usually the only straggler left on the farm.
As peaches and apples ripen and come into season, friends and family are recruited to help man the farm and the bakery. With more visitors, more apples need to be picked, more tractors need to be driven, more pies need to be baked, and apples need to be pressed for cider. Though not all at Mills Apple Farm are related by blood, everyone is considered family.
As night falls on the farm, the workers and farm animals sleep while the apples continue to grow, making a continuous cycle of farm work. In the morning, the rooster will crow, and Jerry will wake with the sun. No day is ever boring….