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The Team: Janet and David

  Introduction     by David Kollas

Kollas Orchard is a small, specialized apple orchard  begun in 1975 to test my ideas on how orcharding in New England might be made more attractive as an occupation and family business.  Now, more than 30 years later, that is still what we are doing.

    Our location is northcentral Connecticut, about 15 miles east of Hartford, a mile south of Interstate Hwy. 84, at an elevation of just over 800 feet.  The soil is fine sandy loam, abundantly supplied with stones.

    We are a husband-wife team.  I retired from the University of Connecticut after 30 years as Extension Fruit Specialist.  Janet is a retired elementary school teacher, who “always wanted to live on a farm.”

Goals:

  1. To discover  and develop efficient methods to reliably produce apples of such good taste that people would think them remarkable....extraordinary.
  2. To discover and develop marketing methods appropriate for a commercial business capable of sustaining a family, where that family itself executes all or nearly all of management and labor activities.
  3. To assess production and marketing methods for their efficiency in utilizing all inputs, including labor and natural resources.  Ultimately, to develop an orcharding system that would attract others into orcharding as an occupation.
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Background

David: Oregon State College: BS; Cornell University: MS, PhD;  Janet: Central Connecticut State College:BA, MA                            

Orchard History:  Seven acres, about 7000 trees, planted 1976-1978.   A one-acre planting made 1993; and further plantings made 1998 to present.  Current orchard area is about 6 acres and 2000 trees. (Tree spacing was increased.)

Market evolution:  Our farm market began as an unattended display under a shed roof in the early 1980’s.

Motivation:  My father, an orchardist in Oregon, advised me to avoid orcharding: “Too much work, and you can’t make any money.”  Later, as the State University’s advisor for Connecticut orchardists, I saw that orcharding in New England was even more difficult than in Oregon.  I decided to establish my own “laboratory” where I could innovate and evaluate, because I think orcharding problems exist to challenge human intellect.

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© David Kollas 2012