73 Clarks Ln, Milton, NY, United States
73 Clarks Lane Milton New York 12547 US
The land of Prospect Hill Orchards has been in the Clarke family for nearly 200 years! In fact, the Pick Your Own cherry and apple orchards are part of the original homestead of Nathaniel Clarke. Nathaniel and his bride, moved from Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY to Milton, NY in 1817. The original 55 acre farm began as a general farm including a kitchen garden, fruits, vegetables and animals, and was a self-sustaining homestead.
The hills and soil around Milton were just right for fruit growing. The high hills protected the trees and crops from frost damage in the spring. The rich gravelly loam soil was perfect for fruit trees and berries. In the early years, small fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and currants were grown. By 1830, fruits were picked in the morning and delivered to the Milton dock by mid afternoon to be loaded on the night boats sailing down the Hudson River to New York City. The river was an integral part of the success of the fruit industry in the Hudson Valley. Gradually, the tree fruits: cherries, peaches, pears and apples became the primary crop of the area. By the 1930’s the Hudson Valley was famous for its apple orchards. Today things are much the same. We still rely on the river and the hills to moderate the weather patterns, we enrich the good soils to keep the crops growing well, and we send some of our produce to NYC.
Prospect Hill Orchards is still a family farm. The sixth and seventh generations of Clarkes are now farming the land. Today, modern equipment and modern growing methods are used. Steve and his son Brad are the principle growers. They plant dwarf trees to increase orchard efficiency. Old favorites such as Golden Delicious and Macoun as well as newer varieties like Fuji and Gala are grown. Fruits are cared for under a low-spray program called IPM, Integrated Pest Management. When our daughter Pamela decided to return to the farm, she began marketing through the NYC Greenmarket system. She and husband Robert Torres have focused on growing small fruits and creating new products to enhance their market display.