Grandpa’s Orchard is proud to be a family outfit. Grandpa Matt and his silent partners are all family farmers in the true sense of the word. We have all been in the fruit industry or nursery business for 50 years or longer. While his partners run a much larger commercial fruit tree nursery in Washington, they are successfully transitioning from one generation to another. With Grandpa’s Orchard being a smaller nursery in Coloma, we may have some issues with our transition to the next generation.
Grandpa Matt has four children, ranging from 24 to 27, three beautiful daughters and a wonderful son to carry on the name! (Just like Grandpa Otto and Karl). My oldest daughter has a daughter and son and my second oldest daughter just recently had a son. My youngest daughter just got married last June and my son, the youngest, is not married (and is available). So all you young gals out there looking for a smart, serious and sensible guy still have a chance of scooping him up! (Grandma Lee has always chided me for trying to marry off my children… but I just can’t help it, he’s a catch!)
At this point, only my oldest daughter may be the successor in the family orchard. She has the agricultural education and the interest in the profession. She helps to run the business in many ways. However, right now she is going through a rough patch in her life, and the future isn’t what her focus is on at the moment. I pray that everything will work out well for her in the near future, and I do believe the sun will once again shine in her life. I think we all go through trying times for a reason….because there’s a plan.
My second daughter and son-in-law manage fish hatcheries in Alaska (who we will soon be visiting to meet our new grandchild). I joke with her that she is really a farmer, but she takes affront to the idea that they are farming fish for food, since they raise many types of salmon and release them back into the wild for the fishing industry.
My third daughter, who was my “wild child”, has finally settled down and is becoming a star in her own right. She will earn her Master’s Degree this spring and loves working with those who have alcohol and drug abuse problems. She works hard to try and help these people clean up their lives in alternative programs, so they do not end up accepting prison as a way of life.
My handsome son is an IT professional and currently working to establish his own IT company. He helps us with some IT issues that come up in the office and keeps our systems running smooth and secure. Boy, would he make some girl a nice catch! Ok, enough of trying to sell my son, Grandma Lee is telling me to stop 😉
Perhaps in the next few years, another generation will join Grandpa’s Orchard and old Grandpa Matt can look at slowing down, but never retiring! If not, then perhaps someone else will take over Grandpa’s Orchard. The statistics for young blood coming into farming is not encouraging though. In Grandpa’s younger hay-days the statistics were overwhelming with the fact that the average farmer was not getting younger, but only older (& grayer)! It’s still the case, but even worse than it once was before.
So, in Grandpa’s “ five-year plan” there may only be three options:
1. Hope another generation of Grandpa’s family decides to take over
2. Bring in a non-family “go-getter” who wishes to be a nurseryman
3. Sell to a bigger company
Sometimes Grandpa Matt wishes he had a crystal ball!
Would you like a few pointers today? Follow this link for some great growing tips.