Okay, I admit this isn’t the typical time of year to be talking about apple orchards. But, just because there’s snow on the ground instead of colored leaves doesn’t mean my Upstate NY craving for apple has gone into hibernation.
J.L. Knight & Son Family Orchard has been a part of the Capital Region for such a long time but recently, it seems, they’ve really stepped up their game.
According to their website, J.L. Knight & Son (319 Goode Street, Burnt Hills) wasn’t originally an orchard at all! “On March 1907 over nearly impassible roads of deep mud, Clarence and Russell Knight moved their families and furniture to an 80-acre farm on Goode Street. The two men established a partnership, Knight Brothers, to operate a dairy farm.” That’s right – a dairy farm. It didn’t take them too long to realize that Upstate NY loves apples and in 1919, they decided to change to fruit.
They started with Macintosh, then added other varieties and eventually raspberries and strawberries too. “The two brothers continued their innovative thinking and planning, which lead to the design and construction of one of the first “on the farm” cold storages in New York state.”
“The days of yesteryear with standard size trees, extension ladders, and shipping in barrels via horse-drawn wagon over dirt roads to the railroad depot are but a memory now.” Since then, they’ve expanded through the various generations: Refrigerated Storage (1939), Retail Farm Market (1958), Controlled Atmosphere Storage Rooms (1958), Mechanical Handling and Bulk Equipment (1963), Dwarf Trees and Modern Varieties (1976), Mechanized Fruit Grading (1983), On-Site Cider Mill and UV Treatment (1994), Integrated Pest Management (2001), Relaunch as J.L. Knight and Son Family Farm, LLC (2019), New Storage, processing, and retail facility at 319 Goode St. (2020), and (though not mentioned on their website, I find it very important) the addition of homemade apple cider donuts (2021).
Though it may not be the season for your own apple picking, visit the orchard store for some of your favorite apple treats along with other local products. And don’t forget to leave with an apple cider donut!