Looking Back, Looking Ahead

By January 3, 2018Pleasant Valley Orchard
Winter Apple Orchard

Wow! It’s the New Year already! We thought we’d take this chance while everyone is huddled inside (although today the temperatures made above 0º, then there’s that darn wind), to look at 2017 and peek into 2018.
When you’re in the farming business, growing business, you are always subject to Minnesota weather whims. So please forgive us if we talk about the weather too much!

  • Last winter and spring we began work on repairing and restoring our barn. The roof was losing shingles every time the wind blew. But to do that, we found we had to straighten the barn walls which meant lifting the barn off its foundation, only to learn that to set it back down, we had to re-build part of the foundation walls. What a project!
  • This summer, we were thankful the hail and wind storms missed us. Unfortunately, some of our neighbors were hit hard. Our hearts go out to them and we wish them a speedy recovery. Strawberry season is always a fickle one. Too much rain is hard on the fruit so is too much heat. But we need warmth for the berries to ripen. Perfect weather is a lot to ask for, right? This year, despite it being sweatshirt weather a few days, we had a good season and plenty of fruit.
  • This fall we had a mixture of blessings and challenges. Chisago County worked hard to get the re-constructed Pleasant Valley Road open in time for our fall season. Then the Osceola bridge closed. Who knew how many of our regular customers take that bridge? We learned pretty quickly. We had some interesting weather issues, heat, rain, snow at odd times. But we love our customers – they came anyway and when the weather was perfect even better. We added a vendor fair early in the season, more weekend music and a brat stand on Saturday and Sunday. We had a good apple crop and we were able to offer most of our premium apples right through our December sale.

Looking ahead to 2018:

  • We are pleased and excited to have our youngest son, Sam Birkholz, join the business in January. He graduated from the UMN St. Paul in December of 2017 with a degree in Food Systems, experience in sustainable agriculture and community engagement. We look forward to the help he will provide with the workload and fresh ideas we can employ.
  • We will continue to work on the old barn. Such a big undertaking. This year, we will work on siding and window repairs and work on the haymows to restore it to full use.
  • Finally, 2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of our fall retail season. We are working on some new marketing ideas and special events to celebrate this milestone.

It’s hard to believe we first began selling apples 25 years ago. And amazing to look back over those years and all of you who helped keep us going. We love being a part of the Chisago Community and the St. Croix Valley. We love to bring you fresh, healthy fruit. We love that our family can help your family make long-lasting memories.
We look forward to 2018 and celebrating with you!