Featured Farmer:
Rich Eshleman

On: August 01, 2012

We found Rich through another one of our local providers, Ed Hill. In addition to the delicious chicken that Ed provides our Meat departments, for years in the fall he would bring us Melrose apples from a friend of his who had an orchard up by the lake. One day I asked Ed if his friend grew anything besides Melrose apples. He said yes and offered to introduce us; that was two years ago.

Rich graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in horticulture. He then traveled to Michigan and Washington State to gain more experience. In 1977, Rich & Betty started growing fruit in Clyde, Ohio at the former Goltz Fruit Farm. In 1989, he expanded with the addition of Starlite Orchards. They are now growing six acres of sweet cherries, three acres of plums, six acres of apricots, fifty acres of peaches, and 150 acres of apples. The farm has 20,000 bushels of cold storage and 25,000 bushels of controlled atmosphere storage space.

Each year, we continue to sell more fresh fruit from Rich. Last year was our biggest year yet. We had apricots, peaches, cherries, blueberries, apples and pears. Unfortunately, this year fruit will not be as plentiful. Remember this year’s warm March and the below freezing nights for a couple of weeks at the end of April and beginning of May? Well, that’s not a good combination for growing tree fruit. The trees were in bloom early because of the warm March, so when the freezing night temperatures hit it destroyed this year’s entire cherry crop, and 60% of the peach and apple crops. This year’s quantity will be down, but we will stand by our friend and with your help support him as best we can. As you can see, farming is a very risky business. We at DLM believe in supporting our local farmers and producers and we thank you for helping us do that. Visit all of them at our Farmer’s Market!