Walton Orchard, *Bruce and Freda Walton, Frankfort
Products produced on the farm: Apples, apricots, cherries, blueberries, raw apple cider vinegar, and vegetables.
Signature product: Apples: MacIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Ida Reds. “Except for the Red Delicious, they are all good for eating. The Red Delicious is for cooking, and it makes good juice.” Apples with surface blemishes are available through pre-order with the produce department for a lower price, and are perfectly fine and great for making sauce, for cooking – and even for eating if, like the Waltons, you just cut out the blemish. “The apple is fine. It might have a speck of scab on it, but it won’t have a worm in it.”
Size of farm: 100 acres, 20 farmed.
How long farming: About 65 years, since Bruce was about 11.
Farming practices: Certified biodynamic and organic by Demeter Association and related organic certifying agency.
Why do you farm the way you do? “It is environmentally safe and we are trying to keep our land alive and active. When you use your synthetic chemicals, you are killing your microbes and bacteria and fungi in the ground, and those are the things that produce the food for the roots in your plants.” The Waltons, who used to use synthetic chemicals, also started to see farm friends die, and suspected chemicals affected their health because farmers didn’t wear masks “in the old days.” “The stuff was getting pretty potent. You couldn’t go into the orchard after you sprayed for a limited time. I don’t have to have gloves on now, or wear a mask. I use fish, kelp, garlic. I could probably drink and eat it.”
What is it that inspires you to be in farming? “I was born into it. It’s just like a sailor, I guess. It gets in your blood.”
What is important to you about selling your products locally? “Oryana pays us every other week. We have cash in our hands. Take it to a processor, and you never know what you are going to get. The processor might take a year or longer. It’s put a lot of guys out of business.”