Oral Histories with Apple Growers
Talea and Doug Taylor of Montgomery Place Orchards, Red Hook, NY
Interview with AJ Tripathi '18 on January 18, 2018
Talea and Doug Taylor are the current managers of Montgomery Place Orchards in Red Hook, NY. They have been working the land there for about thirty-seven years. The interview with them was conducted in the farm’s kitchen. Talea and Doug discuss how they came to Montgomery Place: their time in college, how they met, and the jobs they worked until they made their way to Montgomery Place. They speak of what it is like to rent land as a farmer and how that has changed throughout the years. They address what goes into running a small farm and the challenges that come with it as well as the reason they keep doing the work that they do.
Ken Migliorelli of Migliorelli Farms, Tivoli, NY
Interview with Nick Fiorellini '20 on January 17, 2018
The oral history was conducted with Ken Migliorelli, a local apple farmer in Tivoli, New York. Ken discussed his family history with farming, how he got into apple farming, issues surrounding apple growing, government intervention, the nexus between farming and technology (and its future), and why he does what he does. Anyone seeking information on modern-day farming and how the agriculture industry works will find this information useful. Since he was 15, Ken has been involved with farming; his interest began when he grew beans and was able to feed his family in the Bronx. In 2002, he began to grow apples in the Hudson Valley.
Chuck Mead of Mead Orchards, Tivoli, NY
Interview with Sahal Hussain '19 on January 22, 2018
Chuck Mead is the owner of Mead farms in Tivoli, Dutchess County, New York. The farm was first purchased by his grandfather in 1916. It was then passed down through generations to Chuck. He describes in detail various technologies that he uses and the changes he has seen in these technologies throughout his years in farming. He recollects anecdotes about his father and grandfather. He shares how he feels about some of the changes in farming that he has seen. He reminisces about his experiences in college and contemplates the future of farming technology. He also talks about some of the differences in farming in the U.S. and in Europe.
Holly and Bruce Brittain of Rose Hill Farm, Red Hook, NY
Interview with Emma Washburn '19 on January 24, 2018
In this oral history, Holly and Bruce Brittain of Rose Hill Farm in Red Hook, New York, describe their experiences since purchasing the farm in 2015. They discuss how they met, their previous careers as an architect and in finance, and how they decided to purchase the property and become farmers. They discuss how they plan on changing and diversifying the farm and what their various short term goals for the farm are, including making the farm organic, building trails, rebuilding the old barn, and brewing apple cider. They discuss what they think of farming technology and how they utilize it on their farm, as well as how they use social media to attract visitors, as their farm is exclusively a pick-your-own farm. They also discuss how their thoughts on farming have changed since buying the farm, as they did not have much prior farming experience, and how their lives have changed because of it. They discuss Dave Fraleigh, the previous owner of the farm and their relationship with him and his continuing involvement with the farm. They talk about their long term goals for the farm, as well as reveal why they do what they do.
Dave Fraleigh (former owner of Rose Hill Farm), Red Hook, NY
Interview with Winter Session 2017
During Winter Session 2017, the project team met with three apple growers of northern Dutchess County during the project period, each of whom had very different operations and provided insights into the economic and technological changes they have noticed during their experiences as farmers. Their discussion with Dave Fraleigh, who was a descendant of the first Fraleigh to own the farm, Peter P. Fraleigh. Dave spoke with the students via video chat from his home in North Carolina, where moved after selling the farm to Bruce and Holly Brittain and their partner, Chris Belardi.