We bought our orchard in 1997 and began the program to transition it to organic that same year. Our kids and grandkids have grown up on the farm. Currently, our two sons and their families live on the orchard too and are an integral part of daily operations. Our daughter and her family live nearby and help with taste-testing and quality control.
Many years ago, we realized that if our farm was to survive we would have to have much more control over growing, harvesting, and selling than we could get by working through a traditional packing warehouse. We began packing and selling our own fruit, and have been fortunate to work with several great local NW retailers directly.
Our orchard is quite small by industry standards, so we have to pay close attention to quality as well as quantity of what we grow. Being small enables us to engage in practices that might be difficult for a larger operation, ie. color pick, pick for optimum quality, multiple pickings etc. We love knowing that the ‘fruits of our labor’ are enjoyed by people who care about supporting small, local family farms!