Apples in the Hudson Valley

Although apples have been grown in the Hudson Valley since the arrival of Europeans, this fruit tree only emerged as a core crop for farmers over the nineteenth century. Below is a timeline that tracks a brief history of land and agricultural changes in northern Dutchess County, specifically in the context of the descendants of Johan Petrus and Grietje Frolich (later changed to Fraleigh) as they purchased and farmed land in the town of Red Hook. As we follow the Fraleigh family's lineage—from Petrus Fraleigh passing his "homestead" to his son Philip and Philip's brother, Peter P., purchasing his own farm, later named Rose Hill—we witness the larger changes in agricultural history that shaped the experiences of farmers in the Hudson Valley today.

The general trajectory of these changes follows the early Fraleigh farms as they began as primarily sustenance for their families and for a small local market. Through the next generations the diversity of crops and agricultural production continues even as dairy becomes a large factor in the agricultural economy of New York. Other means of diversification introduce an early form of agri-tourism in the late nineteenth century with John Alfred and Lucy Irene's expansion of the farmhouse at Rose Hill to invite summer boarders hoping to escape the city. By the 1920s, however, dairy farms begin to wane as the rise of commercial apple production privileges a fewer and fewer select varieties to market. As we see with the Losee Farm and the Teator Farm, apple growing becomes a commercial business that is supported by the introduction of a cold storage facility in Red Hook and increasingly efficient methods for moving and marketing produce. What we beginning to witness now in the 21st century, is a departure from this wholesale model with a returned focus on local retail. In talking with growers during the production of this project, we learned that the renewed local economy is increasingly centering on an emerging agri-tourism of pick-your-own and green market stands.

The Fraleigh Family Farms

Below is an abbreviated family tree of the Fraleigh family in Red Hook. For instance, we do not see Petrus's twelve siblings or all six of his and Elizabeth's children. The lineage shown here only traces the branches of the family that purchased and passed down through the generations two adjacent farms in Red Hook. Petrus's farm, later known as the Homestead, passed down through his son Philip's lineage. Philip's brother, Peter P., purchased adjacent land, later naming it Rose Hill, and passed this acreage down through his lineage. This family tree serves as a visual aid for the timeline above and provides links to a page detailing each person's relations.