Spring Fever

April 5, 2014

Some warmer, sunny days have finally arrived in the North Country.  You really never know what to expect with the weather around here.  I laugh, as I was writing our winter blog as it was a 50 degree day with the sun shining.  As I write this, in April, it is 27 degrees and we just had a snowstorm last weekend.  But, hey, the sun is shining, and I’m starting to see some color in the greenhouses, things are looking on up!

The greenhouse crew has been very busy.  In February they started planting seeds, 288 to 512 seeds per flat, by hand.  They estimate about 30% of our greenhouse products are started from seeds during February and March; the remaining 70% are started from plugs.  Wayne cares for the seedlings, ensuring that they stay healthy and are ready to be transplanted in the Spring.

(a tray of seeds planted during the winter months)

(Linda & TJ planting)

As the seeds are being planted, the rest of the crew are making sure that the greenhouses are ready for the season.  Linda stresses the importance of starting with an organized, clean, and sterile greenhouse.  This helps prevent disease and makes for an easier work habitat. 

Linda and Richard have a passion for growing.  Together, with their team, they plant hundreds of thousands of seeds & plugs each season.  You can sense their excitement and passion as they talk about the flower season.  Linda is the mastermind behind the design of our baskets.  She has been creating beautiful, colorful designs for over 20 years and she knows exactly what her customers are looking for.  These are her babies; she tells me she feels like “she is sending her child off to kindergarten when she sells a basket.”

(Wayne and Steve mixing dirt - Mabel is supervising)

Every day someone needs to care for the plants, watering, fertilizing, and checking for disease.  The plants are all logistically placed within a greenhouse, depending on the light and temperature of the space.  A lot of time and planning goes into the greenhouses before opening them to the public.

Bob remembers when they started growing flowers, over 30 years ago.  At that time, we had two tiny wooden greenhouses.  Today, we plant 6 greenhouses filled with flowers and another with vegetable plants.  We start our season out with an open house, the first Saturday in May so our customers can get a sneak peak and start making their wish lists. 

We have been doing a little spring cleaning in our retail store, and Wendy has been busy putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. 

(yes, she is using paint, not sour cream)  ;)

Once all this snow has finally melted, we can get out in the fields to prepare for the 2014 season.  We hope to see you all soon!

Author:
Shannon Rulfs

My name is Shannon Rulfs, and my family owns Rulfs Orchard.  In 1952, more than 60 years ago, my grandfather, Bob, moved to Peru with the dream of having a dairy farm.  The dairy farm Bob purchased came with apple trees on the property, which he learned to care for with some help from family and community members.  They started to sell apples on the front lawn, and the business evolved from there. 

In the 1980s, Bob sold the dairy business to his son so he could focus on expanding the Orchard.  Today at Rulfs Orchard, we have our year-round retail store, wholesale department and bakery, as well as our seasonal cider mill, greenhouses, U-Pick berries, apples and pumpkins and a corn maze.  Our farm operates on just under 200 acres of land, and we employ more than 40 people during our busy season.

I spent my high school and college years helping my Aunt Patti in the Rulfs Orchard Bakery.  After college, I worked as an auditor in Albany and New York City, and then moved back to the North Country in 2007.  Upon returning to the family business, I wasn’t sure how permanent a career move it would be, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.  Currently, most of my time is spent in the office, fulfilling my position as Business Manager for both Rulfs Orchard and Apple Blossom Florist, which Rulfs purchased in 2011.  I also enjoy working in our retail store, at farmer’s markets and at various outside events.

I often reflect on how much we have expanded on Bob’s original vision and feel fortunate to be part of the network of family, friends, employees and community members that continue to help Rulfs Orchard achieve success.  All of us at Rulfs are looking forward to an exciting future of continued growth and to being part of the wonderful Peru community for the next 60 years – and beyond.

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A Division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 310 |  7061 Route 9 | Plattsburgh, NY 12901 USA
francais