GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

‘Power’ couple buy 78 acres of Prospect Hill land

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Staff report

HARVARD — It’s a beautiful parcel of land — a 78-acre tract atop Prospect Hill, loaded with apple trees bearing ripening fruit. And it was owned by Westward Orchards Inc. until August, when it was sold to a Cambridge couple.

The property is agriculturally protected under Mass. General Law Chapter 61A as horticultural land. The town assesses the land at $19,000.

The sales price in the deed dated Aug. 16 and recorded Aug. 18 at the Worcester South Registry of Deeds. The undeveloped parcel sold for $3.25 million, according to the deed on record. Rhonda Sprague of Harvard Realty had the property listing.

The buyers are identified in the deed as Earl E. and Victoria McEvoy of Cambridge.

Earl McEvoy was a major fund manager for Vanguard Investments, who retired at age 59 in 2008. At the time, McEvoy co-managed the then-$13.3 billion Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund, was lead manager of the $8.8 billion Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund and the $5.7 billion Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund.

Meanwhile, Victoria Rogers McEvoy is chief of pediatrics and medical director for the Mass General West Medical Group. As part of a medical team from Massachusetts General Hospital, McEvoy visited southern Sudan with the goal of teaching newborn baby care and resuscitation to local hospital personnel. She authored a story of her account that was published in the Aug. 9 edition of The New York Times.

McEvoy is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She authored a book released in May entitled “The 24/7 Baby Doctor by Lyons Press.” She also wrote a regular column in the Boston Globe entitled “The Exam Room.”

A brief biography linked to her book on Amazon.com states the couple have four children and three grandchildren. The bio also states the couple is celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary this year.

KEEP IT PROTECTED

A message left with the McEvoys on Monday wasn’t immediately returned. But Karen Green of Westward Orchards did provide some information about the transaction.

She said the couple has stated they intend to keep the property protected under Chapter 61A. “And that’s the type of buyer we were looking for and we were very happy to have found them,” Green said. “We really wanted to keep it in 61A.”

The apple trees are loaded with MacIntosh and Cortland apples, ripening in the summer sun.

“We’ll be able to harvest this year’s crop and then we’ll go from there. Perhaps we’ll be able to take care of the trees for a few more years,” Green said. The trees are to be harvested in the next week or two.

Green said the McEvoys have no plans to build a home there, only a barn. What would be housed in the barn isn’t yet being discussed publicly.

The property has significant frontage on Prospect Hill Road across the street from the Fruitlands Museum but also has a right of way access off Madigan Lane.

Green said the property came into her family’s possession in 1974. Her father William Herman had already been farming the land before the purchase.

“I don’t know if there was a lease but he had a gentleman’s agreement with Mr. (Wilbur) England who owned the property before Westward owned it,” Green said.

The orchard retains “more than enough” fruit-laden trees. “That’s the art of it. How many acres do we need to farm to keep the business and be viable?” said Green.

Westward Orchards still owns many acres on Massachusetts Avenue, Littleton County and Oak Hill roads.

Of the Prospect Hill land, Green agrees, “It’s a beautiful spot. It was developable but that was not our first choice. A lot of people thought that’s how we were going to go but we looked at many different ideas on what to do.”