Periodically, we will highlight one of the 145 growers that are a part of the Crunch Time Apple Growers LLC. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about these growers as they share their personal stories and dedication to providing the best quality apples from New York State, including SnapDragon and RubyFrost.
Kast Farms from Gaines, NY is the current featured grower.
Bowman Orchards is located in Rexford, NY and operated by Kevin and Martha Bowman. Kevin and Martha are third generation growers and have been growing apples since 1952! Currently they grow 50 varieties of apples, including SnaDragon and RubyFrost, on about 98 acres. When asked what they like about growing apples, they said offering customers a fruit known for it's "symbol of health" and seeing the smiles on their faces. Growing so many varieties allows them to offer a different taste for everyone. In addition to apples, the Bowman's also grow other small fruits, berries, peaches and garden mums.
You'll also find farm animals, such as pigs, sheep, goats, horses and alpacas at Bowman Orchards. The Bowman's invite you to visit their orchard and offer apple picking, berry picking and a multitude of seasonal activities.
When the Bowman's take a break from farming, they enjoy boating and snowmobiling!
Located in Gaines, NY, the Kast family is operated by David, Brett and John Kast, who are 4th and 5th generation family members. Kast Farms has been growing apples for about 60 years and grows about 25 different varieties of apples. In addition to SnapDragon® and RubyFrost®, the family also growsEmpire, Honeycrisp, Cameo, Gala, Fuji, Rome and Ida Red.
In talking about the family farm, Brett Kast says "You don't just put an apple tree in the ground and walk away. They need constant care and attention throughout the entire year and for the duration of it's life". Growing apples is a passion; a way of life and there are always challenges and changes. You can't control the weather and an entire crop can be destroyed by one hailstorm in the summer or a deep freeze during spring time blossom. According to Brett, growing apples requires a deep love for what you do.
In addition to apples, the Kast family also grows field corn, sweet corn, lima beans, snap beans, soybeans, malting barley, red wheat, sweet cherries and peaches.
When they're not farming, the family enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking and traveling.
K & S Bischoping is owned by Karen and Stan Bischoping and located in Williamson, New York. Stan’s father began collecting apple varieties many years ago when farms used to be more diversified covering livestock, fruits, vegetables and grains. They currently grow 84 varieties from Ananas Reinette to Zestar and now SnapDragon and RubyFrost.