Super Seniors: Betty Ann and Reg Morse

Published: Jul. 18, 2019 at 1:20 PM EDT
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Miles away from the village of Westford lies Morse Hillside Farms, a little patch of paradise where the raspberries are ripe and ready.

"There's some nice berries in here," said Betty Ann Morse. You could call it free range picking. "We pretty much let people go where they want to go. We don't restrain them very much."

For over 20 years the berry farm has been run by Betty Ann and Reg Morse. The married couple have a respect for the land and each other. "We just cherish what we have here," Betty Ann said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you compliment each other?

Betty Ann Morse: Yes, completely... We share the philosophy of love of Vermont, cherishing what we have.

Betty Ann and Reg met working at a medical lab at what was then called Mary Fletcher Hospital in Burlington. Both retired a few years ago with an average of 50 years of service between the two of them. Now, it's a life of maple sugaring in the spring and berries in the summer.

"Reg is a perfectionist. He likes to maintain the grounds," Betty Ann said. He gets to the fields at 5 a.m.

Reporter Joe Carroll: What's it like that early in the morning?

Reg Morse: It's quiet. Course it's quiet up here anyways.

But there is a dilemma. Reg, who just turned 80, says none of their children want to take over the business. "It takes a certain person to really get into, you know," he said.

"Just actually thinking about not being able to maintain this is really kind of a painful thought," Betty Ann added. But, perhaps waiting in the wings is their grandson, Luke.

Betty Ann: Luke, are you going to take over the farm after you graduate from college?

Luke: Maybe.

Betty Ann: That would be wonderful, we would be so happy.

But for now, Betty Ann appreciates the eight-year-old's help. "Maybe I'll give you three dollars now that you're picking more berries," she said. "He was sweeping the floor."

"I don't think so. I don't think so," Reg said. "That's too much. He didn't pick anything!"

Picking isn't a problem for Sharon and Bobby Van Ornum of Jericho, who come up to the cash register with five quarts of berries. "This is one of those special parts of summer," Sharon said.

But for Reg, the berry season starts just after the sugaring season ends. "If he didn't have all this to do, he'd wither away," Betty Ann said.

After a return to the discussion over Luke's wages, Betty Ann wins out and the potential new boss get his pay.

A couple mostly in harmony...

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