The nearness of the farm to Lake Ontario is the key to fruit farming success in this region. The water temperatures in this large fresh water lake influence the land close to the shores which creates a moderation of the otherwise normal climatic conditions.
The summers are somewhat cooler and the winters are less harsh. Average rainfall of around 32 inches a year is perfect for fruit production. The combination of these elements provides an ideal climate for growing fruit trees.
The homestead that was occupied on this original parcel in 1909 remains the farm homestead to this day. The farm at this point in history was operated as a combination of cash crop farming and subsistence type farming. Livestock, grains, fruits and vegetables were raised to support the needs of the family. Cash crops of Apples, Pears, Peaches where also grown to provide income for other family needs. An Apple Drying House was operational on the farm at this period of time which allowed for the preservation of the Apple crop and provided the ability to expand markets.
Chester & Josie Lagoner began managing the farm. During this period the farm continued to evolve by focusing more on cash crops. Livestock was still a necessity on the farm as a source of food and power but gradually gave way to the advantages and efficiencies of mechanization. Tractors and specialized equipment were increasingly incorporated into the daily operations of the farm. Apples, Pears, Peaches and Cherries continue to be developed as the foundational crops grown on the farm. Crops such as Carrots and other vegetables were grown on a commercial basis during this period as a means of diversifying production.
Dean & Mary Lagoner took over ownership and management of the farm operations. The farm became completely specialized in the production of tree fruit. Apples, Pears, Tart Cherries and Prunes were the major crops grown.
The processing Apple industry and related infrastructure such as refrigerated storage, controlled atmosphere storage and marketing distribution channels were becoming increasingly sophisticated. This growth was especially evident in the Williamson area.
Western New York State had traditionally been known for its large production of Apples that were best suited for the processed market. At this point in history the transition towards growing apples suited for fresh consumption was on the increase.
Mark & Diana Lagoner began farming by purchasing additional farmland adjacent to the original farm that was established by great-grandfather, Anthony, in 1909.
Growing Apples was the primary focus with production targeted towards the processed and fresh markets. Cherries, Peaches, and Cabbage were other crops that were commercially grown on the farm.
The application of Integrated Pest Management techniques were incorporated into the growing cycles of the various crops and the ability to plant higher density orchards using dwarfing rootstocks dramatically increased production capacity.
Direct marketing by way of selling direct to the customer at farmer's markets as well as wholesale deliveries to local chain stores became a vital element of the business.
Mark & Diana, with their children, returned to the homestead and combined the acreages to approximately 150 total acres of farmland.
Housing for farm laborers was built to accommodate the demands of increasing production of Apples. Orchard renovation continued with obsolete varieties being removed and replaced with new acreages of higher density trees bearing improved varieties of fruit.
Cold storage capacity for 25,000 bushels of apples was added on the farm to increase marketing flexibility. Strawberries were added to the production mix.
Mark & Diana's children represent the fifth generation of the Lagoner family to be involved with the farm. Jacob Lagoner, Valerie (Lagoner) Dysinger & her husband Jeremy Dysinger become involved with the operation and management of the farm business.
To accommodate the needs of more family members being involved in the business and to fully utilize the talents of various family members, the construction of a 4,000 sq. ft. farm market is undertaken and completed.
The market is opened in May of 2003 and initial product offerings include fresh produce, bedding plants, hanging baskets, baked goods, ice cream, specialty foods and gifts. Also a full service floral service featuring the finest in floral design is a component of the market as well as a working pottery studio. Crops grown on the farm are expanded to meet the needs of retail marketing. Several types of vegetables, small fruits, and cut flowers are added to the farm production.
The Farm and Market continue to move forward with the ever-changing agricultural landscape. Seasonal fresh produce offerings have increased with the addition of several new crops, including several new vegetables and a wide variety of berries including a pre-existing, 5-acre blueberry patch which has been culturally managed by the farm for two years. Fall comes alive at the market, where Pumpkintown is the featured event. Families can enjoy a day of fun on the farm with our fall activities which include the Cider Barrel Express train ride, our Apple Core Maze, the Apple Sling Shot, wagon rides to the orchards for pick-your-own apples and much more – fun for everyone!
A greenhouse was built to allow for better upkeep of plants in spring and summer, while providing space for outdoor fall activities.
An exciting recent addition at the market is our new line of homemade “Kettle and Spoon” jams, fudge, applesauce, etc. We are happy to be able to provide our customers with quality homemade products which are available at the market and can also be shipped across the country. The product mix on the farm and at the market is continually growing as we strive to keep changing with time.
And even more to come!!!!