MILTON — Looking into their backyard, Stephanie and Jose Romero said one of the biggest changes from when they moved in is the flourishing fruit trees.
Jose said the trees have produced more fruit and gotten healthier since they started Maple Mountain Homestead.
“There’s still a lot of learning,” Jose said. “We still feel like we don’t know what we are doing but we are doing it anyway.”
The Romeros’ lives looked very different prior to 2016.
Stephanie, a nine to five construction accountant in New York City turned pet photographer, and Jose, living and working in New Jersey at the time, had no connection to or interest in any kind of agriculture.
But now, on a 12.5 acre property absolutely bustling with green life in Milton, the couple seems to have found their calling, dedicating the majority of their time to being an active participant in the course of nature and passing along their knowledge to others.
In 2021, the couple opened Maple Mountain Homestead, aiming to connect people to their food through community supported agriculture with an emphasis on learning.
The CSA at Maple Mountain Homestead involves more than a typical CSA. Maple Mountain offers a CSA homestead share, which focuses on perennial foods that don’t need to be planted yearly while also providing an introduction to homesteading through education.
Maple Mountain offers monthly classes covering everything from how to start a no-till garden to foraging for and processing medicinal plants.
Stephanie said this type of work is good for the environment and makes the community stronger.
It all started when Stephanie, looking for ways to address some health issues, found that organic food was working. She then motivated Jose to move to a place where they could grow all their own food.
Stephanie and Jose took a permaculture class, camping for two weeks at a house in Vermont. Stephanie said it looked like the Garden of Eden.
“It was very inspiring,” she said. “We're told to leave nature alone and we have to not interfere but there are ways that you can help nature along by listening to it and working with it.”
The class awakened something in the two of them; they saw the homestead in Milton and were sold.
“We were like, 'This is the life we want' and pretty much everything just made sense and it was easy after that,” Stephanie said. “We wanted to live this lifestyle no matter how hard it is.”
Jose said those first few years were hard with a lot of trial and error, but knowing where food comes from and being a part of that process is important.
The biggest pillar of the couple's CSA however is sharing their knowledge with others and connecting with the community.
“I feel like the connection that we now have with nature and the seasons, it's very grounding,” Stephanie said. “Coming from the city where you don't feel like you have a purpose like ‘What's the point of going to this job every day,’ here every day is full of purpose and we have things to do and new things to learn.”
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