On March 1907 over nearly impassible roads of deep mud, Clarence and Russell Knight moved their families and furniture to an 80 acre farm on Goode Street. The two men established a partnership, Knight Brothers, to operate a dairy farm. In 1919 the decision was made to convert to fruit growing. The transition began with a large block of Macintosh trees being planted, with additional apple varieties and tree fruits being planted in the succeeding years. While the trees were maturing to a fruit bearing age, strawberries and raspberries were raised as cash crops. Many of the Burnt Hills youngsters of the time remember fun and pranks while picking berries.
Eventually all of the tillable land was planted to apples, pears, prunes, peaches, and cherries. The small fruits, livestock, and dairy operation were progressively phased out. As Clarence and Russell's families grew so did the production of the operation. The two brothers continued their innovative thinking and planning, which lead to the design and construction of one of the first "on the farm" cold storages in New York state. The first of many phases of construction was completed in 1932, with many succeeding phases over the next 50 years.
In time Clarence's son Alton and Russell's son Stanley came into the operation and the operation became Knight Bros. & Sons. Later in 1969 the decision was made to go to a family held corporation, hence Knight Orchards, Inc. which included Alton, Stanley and Alton's son Jerry. The present day Knight Orchards of Saratoga County, Inc. came about with the acquisition of Stanley's side of the business in 1976. Jerry's sons Jeremy and Josh now have key roles with the day-to-day operations of the business, positioning themselves to be the fourth generation owners.
The days of yesteryear with standard size trees, extension ladders, and shipping in barrels via horse-drawn wagon over dirt roads to the railroad depot are but a memory now. Clarence, Russell and their descendents realized early on that innovative thinking, planning, and steadfast determination are a must in order to remain competitive in a specialized industry. Many changes have come about through the years and progressive generations:
- Refrigerated Storage (1939)
- Retail Farm Market (1958)
- Controlled Atmosphere Storage Rooms (1958)
- Mechanical Handling and Bulk Equipment (1963)
- Dwarf Trees and Modern Varieties (1976)
- Mechanized Fruit Grading (1983)
- On-Site Cider Mill and UV Treatment (1994)
- Integrated Pest Management (2001)
Knight Orchards will continue furnishing high quality fruit that has been our trademark for the last 111 years.
© 2018 Knight Orchards of Saratoga County, Inc.
"Quality fruit since 1907"