I was thinking the other day about how long our family has been on this farm. And how long this farm has supported our family. Two things that I guess go hand in hand. The Moelker family has been selling farm products here for over 111 years. That always amazes me!
When my Grandpa, John Moelker first came to the Grand Rapids area from the Netherlands, he started with a small dairy farm near Breton road. He had a milk route, peddling dairy products through the streets of that area. A few years later, when he moved out to where the Moelker farm is today, he continued selling milk, but added fruits and vegetables to the mix. John even grew grapes and made communion wine for some of the local churches. All of this provided the income to raise 10 children here!
When my father, Jim Moelker took over and continued the farming operation, he too sold his produce here on the farm. He also went to the Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids. I can remember when I was a kid, he would leave early in the morning on market days, and not return until suppertime. Some days were good, and he would sell out and be home early. Other days he would come home with much of his produce left. Occasionally I would get to go with him to the market. It was an adventure for me to go to the big city! It was work for him.
In the early 1970’s, Dad decided to focus on selling to the public right here on the farm. He quit going to the market in town and built a refrigerated apple storage room with a place to sell from in the front of the building. No more travelling back and forth on market days. Now he could sell every day to customers who came to the farm. My mother, Donna became a big part of the on farm market as well. Customers came out to get fresh cherries, peaches, pears and apples right from the farm. Mom was a great source of information on how to use that fruit, telling people how to freeze, can, make pies, applesauce and desserts. We also supplied several area grocery stores with fresh fruit to pass on to their customers.
My wife Bonnie and I, along with our children have worked for years now to continue the Moelker family business. It is such a rewarding experience getting to know so many of you, and helping you enjoy the fruits of our labor. Pun intended! Some of you have just discovered Moelker Orchards, but others of you were coming here before I was born! We know that without all of you, our friends and customers, Moelker Orchards would not be what it is today. You are a blessing to us!
So this week Saturday, we want to show our appreciation to all of you. It is our annual Customer Appreciation Day. Come in and visit with us. Enjoy a cold cup of cider and a fresh warm donut “on the house.” Several products will be on sale, including our handmade pies. But most of all, just come in to say “Hi.” We will all be here to thank you for your support for us over the years. God willing, we will continue these friendships for years to come!
Have a fruitful week!