It’s thirty-nine years since we bought Goodale Orchards and began our farming life. The orchard had already been operating for nearly fifty years and didn’t bear much resemblance to what exists today. The apple trees were few, old, tall, and gnarled. The section for pick-your-own was at the far end of the orchard, with a big field for parking that was off Northgate Road. We sold apples, cider, preserves, and candy in the orchard store. No cider donuts, no wine, no bakery, no ice cream or summer fruits.

We sometimes think back to those early years and marvel at the changes. The whole family contributed to the orchard along the way. After a few years, Max became tired of the question, “Do you work for the Goodales?” He changed the name to Russell Orchards. There are now thousands of dwarf trees, berries, veggies, peaches… The list goes on and on: bakery, winery, hay rides, and animals.

Long gone are pre-bagged apples lined along green painted shelves in the small room (now the wine tasting room) that was the store part of the barn.  Our first year the cash register was a sectioned drawer in a small table that sat by the door. We used a hand-held calculator to add up purchases and counted out change in the old way. On slow days, we put a basket on the table so customers could come in and help themselves, leaving money in the basket.

Today our son Doug and his wife Miranda are continuing to change and add to and improve the orchard. It is wonderful to see the PYO fields from the window above my desk and see the steady stream of hay wagons dropping people off to pick apples and taking people with full bags back to the barn store. It has been a great adventure.

Barn in 1979

View from the back porch of the farmhouse. The greenhouse is now here.

The end of the barn with the new animal shed we built in 1979. The old gas pump was used for the tractors. The equipment barn and the animal barn is now here.

This was taken a few years later. Cider was sold from these old refrigerators and we’d added some local cheese for sale.