Marshall Historical Society

Kate Loftus Welch
Waterville Times April 3, 1925

If you follow the highway that leads southeasterly from the state road at the Day Farm in idyllic Dicksville, past Cedardale you come to Sunnybrook Farm with its background of spreading apple orchards. This is not Sunnybrook of Kate Douglas Wiggins' pen with its charming, whimsical little girl, Rebecca. It is a vastly better farm than can be found in all of Mrs. Wiggins' New England.

In truth it is one of the very best to be found in this great Empire State. That silver ribbon that you see winding through the orchards is the brook from which the estate takes its name. Like Tennyson's brook it goes on forever.

Sunnybrook is a farm of 140 acres "more or less." Lying in that tract occupied by the Brothertown Indians, it has the Oriskany Creek for its western boundary and extends eastward to a short frontage on the state road at Forge Hollow. The land is somewhat rolling and the soil is that known as Ontario loam. It is of extraordinary fertility. The east side pasture which descends toward Willona Creek is like unto the "green pastures" of David's twenty-third psalm.."He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." There is a sixteen acre woodlot, mostly sugar maples and basswood.

It was about thirty years ago that Edward W. Brooks, having read with sympathy and understanding Bryant's observations on planting an apple tree, was moved to follow the New England poet's advice with a Rochester seed & plant firm that promptly shipped about 300 seedling apple trees to Sunnybrook. He secured help and forthwith began planting. The larger part of the shipment was of Northern Spies with sufficient other standards for cross pollination. The old trees about the farm were given surgical treatment and a goodly number of scions engrafted.

Ten years ago, the orchard acreage increased by 140 seedlings of the Spy and Delicious varieties, and in the spring of 1921 there were planted at Sunnybrook 1650 seedlings among which were some Rome Beauties and Macintosh reds which have grown and flourished like the proverbial bay. The estate now has some 700 Montmorency cherry trees, soon to come into full bearing. There is a small vineyard, several varieties of berries, currants which grow to the size of cherries, plums and pears.

The older orchards have kept the Brooks family and some of their neighbors busy for many seasons. Four years ago saw a bumper crop, some 5700 bushels of apples being harvested. Edward Brooks' many friends are hoping that he may live to see the younger orchards bearing. Sunnybrook's orchards are a little bit of heaven every springtime.

The apple trees of Sunnybrook
How fair they stand today.
The swaying boughs are burgeoning
In pink and white array.
The orchard aisles of velvet green
Echo the thrush's call.
And drifting, sifting like the snow
The scented petals fall.

Go walk at Sunnybrook today, beneath the apple trees.

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