Overcoming the Elements: Dixon Apple Orchard Benefit, Aug. 27

- August 24, 2011

"2011 is already what we here at Dixon Apple Orchard are calling 'The Year that Was...'"

For the owners and family of Dixon's Apple Orchard this year's growing season has unfolded like something out of the Bible. Freezes, drought, wildfire and floods have culminated to decimate the orchard and on Aug. 27 the community will come together to raise money during a special benefit for the family business.

Earlier this spring, severe freezes destroyed 95 percent of the farm's apple crop only to be followed by a parching drought. "Come June, we were still waiting for rain, which hadn't fallen on the orchard in nearly a year. The earth all around us had been so dry for so long," the couple posted. On June 27, the Los Conchas Wildfire swept through the orchard, destroying the Mullane home, a number of processing and storage buildings, 300 apple trees and the surrounding forest. "What once was majestic forest is now barren, ash-ridden rock and dust," wrote the Mullanes.

The dry and fire-scorched earth made the farm especially vulnerable during recent rain storms last week, when aggressive flash floods washed through farm stripping the earth of precious top soil and destroying vehicles and equipment.

"2011 is already what we here at Dixon Apple Orchard are calling 'The Year that Was,'" orchard owners, Jim and Beck Mullane posted on their website. "Currently, we are fighting relentlessly to save our orchard."

Since 1944, the family-run Dixon Apple Orchard has coaxed crisp, sweet apples from the high desert earth. Each fall, thousands of New Mexico families made the annual trip to the farm during its annual harvest to pick apples and participate in ranch festivities.

The future of the orchard is unclear as the family fights to keep their business afloat and manage their personal finances. You can help the Mullane family from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 during a Dixon Apple Orchard benefit, held at the La Tienda shopping center in Eldorado. The day includes guest appearances by KOB TV's Steve Stucker and music from Syd Masters, The Outciders (including members of the Dixon and Mullane family), Sid Hausman and Sean Lucy.

The day will also feature storytelling, face painting, horseback riding, stage coach rides and Lovedeedo the Clown.

More event details on the La Tienda website.