COLTS NECK, NJ – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, State Board of Agriculture member Hugh McKittrick and a variety of local dignitaries visited the popular Colts Neck country food market, Delicious Orchards, today to help celebrate the business’ 100th anniversary.
“We congratulate Delicious Orchards for 100 years of serving the community, supporting local farmers and providing its customers with access to Jersey Fresh produce and Jersey-made products,” said Secretary Fisher. “We rely upon businesses such as Delicious Orchards to promote the sale of local produce and provide the public with access to these products.”
Starting out in 1911 as wholesale apple growers, Delicious Orchards has evolved into a destination, not just for nearby residents, but for people from all over the region. The store specializes in fresh produce – local when in season – from scratch baked goods, cheeses, meats, seafood – wild caught and local when available – gourmet groceries, coffee and tea.
In 2011, Delicious Orchards sold 1.2 million doughnuts and more than 200,000 pies, made from scratch, sticking as close to their original recipe as possible. To help with the process, owner Bill McDonald said they bought an apple peeling machine that peels a bushel of apples in a minute.
“We had to bring in a sophisticated apple peeler because we could not keep up with the volume of apples by hand,” said McDonald. “Other areas where we could use ‘innovation’ we take pride that we do not. For example, we still hand-fill our pies and bag our doughnuts. Bagging 1.2 million doughnuts is not an easy task, but this assures that you are only getting the very best.”
The very best for Delicious Orchards, according to McDonald, is selling Jersey Fresh and Jersey Seafood at every opportunity. During New Jersey’s growing season, people will find Jersey peaches, strawberries, blueberries, corn, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and many other varieties of produce, much of it purchased from Monmouth County farmers. In the winter, McDonald purchases greenhouse tomatoes from a Vineland grower.
In addition, after adding fresh seafood to the store’s offerings, McDonald said they use a local purveyor, preferring wild-caught, Jersey Seafood.
During today’s visit, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini presented Delicious Orchards with a Legislative Resolution.
“I am pleased to join Secretary Fisher in recognizing Delicious Orchards, which is renowned throughout Monmouth County and New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Angelini. “Delicious Orchards, which exemplifies the rich farming tradition of our state, is vital to our economy and quality of life and should be applauded as they celebrate their 100th anniversary.”
Delicious Orchards was started by the Barclay family and in 1959, Carroll Barclay began selling apples at a makeshift roadside stand, opening a 1,200-square-foot stand the next year. Through the 1960’s, the business was expanded to year-round, with the addition of pies and more produce. In 1966, the Barclays bought a building on Route 34, where the current day Delicious Orchards now resides.
In 1977, the original owners sold the business to their management team, Bill McDonald, Tom Gesualdo and Frank McMahon. Gesualdo and McMahon retired a few years ago and McDonald and his family are now owner/operators.
“With our attention to quality, freshness, detail and service, people have and continue to come to our store,” said McDonald. “We pride ourselves on our long term vendor and employee relationships. With several second and third-generation employees, we are able to maintain the highest of qualities and the superior customer service.”
Delicious Orchards currently employs 250 people and has more than 2.5 million visitors each year.
The Department of Agriculture developed Jersey Fresh in 1984 as a promotional tool for New Jersey agricultural products, the first such programs in the country. Since then, it has been the model for many other states’ agricultural promotion programs. For more information, visit www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.