Good Fruit Grower

April 15

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photos by richard lehnert University of Massachusetts's Jon Clements has a spirited discussion with Tim Dressel, center, and Sara Grady, who heads Glynwood, a project promoting hard cider. Tim, who is entering the farm operation, created Kettleborough Cider House to make and sell fermented apple cider. Bins and bundles of split apple firewood are for sale at Wright's Market. The bins sell for $60 each. The market combines retail, a large youpick operation, and packs for sale at 13 area farmers' markets near Gardiner, New York. A new large packing house is topped with solar panels and, overall, the farm has a 42kilowatt solar array. Inside, visitors watched old black-and-white film from the days of Roosevelt's presidency, when he was campaigning in the Hudson Valley and visiting the Morgenthau farm. • At Dressel Fruit Farm in New Paltz, Rod Sr. and Debbie Dressel, joined by Rod Jr., Tim, and Sarah, operate a 300-acre farm, storage, packing house, farm market, and cider operation. Tim has created a new entity, Kettleborough Cider House, to make and sell hard cider crafted in the Normandy, France, tradition. The area is attempting to create a cider tradition through the Hudson Valley Cider Alliance and Cider Week NY each fall. Rod Sr. showed his new state-of-the-art storage and refrigeration system, which operates with super-cooled salt water, was built of prefabricated insulated panels, and has four doors costing $8,000 each that seal with vacuum pumps. • Golden Harvest Farms, owned by Alan Grout and his son Derek, is a rustic farm market supported by 200 acres of apples. A few years ago, New York State legalized the operation of farm-based distilleries and tasting rooms, and Derek jumped on the opportunity to produce barrel-aged, blended, and bottled products distilled from fermented apple cider. They sell Core Vodka, Applejack, and various other pear and apple brandies and spirits. • Mead Orchards is another family that has grown in the retail direction in the 30 years it has been owned and operated by Chuck Mead. The 185-acre farm grows all the newest varieties of apples and stone fruits, plus a variety of vegetables. They sell some 40 different items to farmers' markets locally and into the New York City suburbs a hundred miles south. In 2001, development rights were sold so the land can be farmed forever— something that had been a passion of Chuck's father, Sid. • Wright's Farm, Market and Bakery at Gardiner, New York, exemplifies the combination of production and retail marketing orientation of many of the Hudson Valley growers—without paying attention to New York City. The farm serves the State University of New York community at New Paltz and surrounding communities with stands at 13 farmers' markets. At the main market in Gardiner, they sell fruit, doughnuts, pies, and other baked goods, and operate a kitchen that produces jams and preserves for sale. The family includes Ted, Mike, Tammy, Colin, Samantha, and MacKenzie Boylan. Colin, a member of the Hudson Valley Young Growers, explained how the farm makes the community feel welcome. The sorting and packing operation, for example, is inside the market so visitors can watch how the whole processing operation works. Their entire 463 acres of fruit is wide open to you-pick customers, who can drive right into the orchards, spend the day, and picnic, or whatever. Last fall, during the time they sold you-pick apples, they held a concert in the orchard. The place has a parklike feel, complete with picnic tables. Their slogan: "We do it Wright in the field." How do you control such a venture? Each adult visitor pays $10 for a picking bag that is a peck in size, and each child buys a half-peck size for $5. On the way out, they check out. They take whatever is in their bag, and they can buy additional quantities—but they must allow their vehicle to be inspected. • Fix Brothers farm sits high over the Hudson River where an extended family does both retail and wholesale. The family grows, packs, ships, and operates a pick-your-own for apples, cherries, and peaches. The family members—Gary, David, Robert and their wives and sons—are establishing new high-density plantings, maintained with renewal pruning, with an eye to mechanization. They have a new self-leveling Orsi platform that moves in and out and up and down on a scissors mounting. • GOOD FRUIT GROWER April 15, 2013 25

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