Anoka County family farm yields bushels of fruit

Its roots deeply grounded in rich family history, Remick’s Orchard shares the bounty of its first harvest.

Donna Remick takes a break, showing off a bushel of bounty from the orchard’s first harvest.
Donna Remick takes a break, showing off a bushel of bounty from the orchard’s first harvest.Photo courtesy of Donna Remick

“We are so excited to offer this fresh, just-picked fruit to the public,” said Donna Remick, who with her husband Chuck planted the saplings, pruned the trees and picked the apples.

The Oak Grove orchard sits on a parcel of fertile land purchased and nurtured by Donna’s grandparents back in 1935. Potatoes and hay were the primary crops harvested there back in the days of the Great Depression, but in the past few years Donna simply couldn’t resist nurturing the ground, planting and harvesting in memory of her grandparents.

Apples burst forth in full bloom in the orchard, called Remick’s Orchard.

“Just think: we were planting an orchard in Anoka County sand,” Remick said, recalling folks’ discouraging words when news of their plan spread.

“We ran across pessimistic folks who said it could not be done. ‘Can’t grow apples on this side of the river,’” she said, “Hmm, must be the soil or something. Which as a matter of fact has presented its challenges. But today we have apples.”

Honeycrisp will soon be harvested and already SweeTango, Red Barron, Haralson and Zestar are among the apples picked and offered for sale at Remick’s Orchard.

“We have 15 varieties of apples – something for everyone,” Remick said.

While it is apple harvest season at Remick’s Orchard, grapes are also harvested from the family’s vineyard, called Heritage Farm.

Why grapes? Well, Remick’s grandmother Lena came from the Ukraine as an extremely poor immigrant, and “with her first son on her hip and pregnant with another, her apron hem was filled with grape seeds sewn in,” she said.

Each row in the vineyard is named in memory of one of Remick’s family members, using the first and middle name along with the birth year of that family member. And so, Row No. 1 is Lena Pelecacz 1889, named in memory of her grandmother. Row No. 2 is Michael Dimitry 1885 in memory of her grandfather.

Every generation from the grandparents to the present has a row, as does Remick’s son and her grandchildren.

“There’s even room for great grandchildren,” she said, expressing her love of family and her intention to continue the family farm long into the future.

“The purpose of the Heritage Farm is to honor the past, present and future,” Remick said.

Each row of grapes has a bottle of wine created and labeled in honor of that family member, she said.

Remick’s Orchard is open for business every day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and folks can stop by for a bushel of apples, a hike through the woods, some seasonal photo opportunities – even some games for the kids, Remick said.

The orchard is located one mile north of the intersection of county roads 58 and 9 at 18978 Lake George Blvd. NW, Oak Grove.

“Whether it’s grapes or apples, just know it’s from our heart to the core,” Remick said.

For more information, call Remick at 612-240-3355 or email her at [email protected]

Sue Austreng is at
[email protected]