By Lauren Halligan firstname.lastname@example.org @LaurenTheRecord on Twitter
SCHODACK, N.Y. — A longtime local orchard is changing hands after more than a century, as its owners prepare to retire and the buyers make new plans for the farm’s future.
Goold Orchards, established by the Goold family in 1910 at 1297 Brookview Station Rd. in Schodack, will soon be known as Windy Hill Orchard - East.
Owners Sue Goold Miller and her husband Ed Miller are selling the 106-acre property — and its 13,000 apple trees — to Scott and Todd Seeberger.
The brothers, lifelong residents of Schodack, own the smaller Windy Hill Orchard & Farm Market in central New York and are excited to take on another orchard venture in their hometown.
The farm will continue to grow, harvest and sell apples each year, while serving as a popular attraction for both locals and visitors who choose to pick their own apples in the fall.
Among the Seebergers’ vision for the property is a renovation of the farm store, expanding retail offerings and introducing Windy Hill Cidery & Winery to the Schodack site. “We have so many ideas,” Scott said.
Goold Miller, who knows Scott Seeberger as a neighbor and through his role in the apple industry, is glad that the beloved rural terrain will continue to operate as an orchard.
“We’re very fortunate that we are selling this as an orchard, as is the community and the county,” she said. “My goal all along has been to see that this somehow continues to be agricultural.”
Miller, 73, and Goold Miller, 65, decided to sell the farm partly because of their age, along with changes in the industry.
In her retirement, Goold Miller plans to continue running Brookview Station Winery, a wine and hard cider business started in 2006. Previously headquartered at the farm, it will be relocated to a new site.
After many decades as a household name with Goold Orchards, Goold Miller said she will miss the orchard, especially her customers and staff, but won’t miss other aspects such as worrying about the weather.
“The county is indebted to Sue and Ed Miller for the many years of enjoyment that they provided our residents in Rensselaer County at Goold’s Orchard,” Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said. “We’re excited that Todd and Scott Seeberger will be carrying on this fine tradition by operating on this same property as Windy Hill Orchard. The county has had a long-time partnership with Goold Orchards, and we look forward to collaborating with Scott and Todd in promoting this wonderful treasure.”
Scott Seeberger has 18-years of experience in the industry. He and his brother own the Schodack-based Northeastern Apple Sales, which markets fresh New York State apples throughout the United States.
After working in sales, the siblings decided to explore a new side of the apple industry as growers and took over a seasonal Cassville orchard, the original Windy Hill Orchard, six years ago. “We’ve turned it around, and we’ve made it a destination for a lot of people out in central New York,” Scott said.
Now experienced in all aspects of the apple industry, “We love what we do,” said Scott, whose sons, Matt and Cody are involved in the business as well.
Looking forward to soon take ownership of the local farm, the Seebergers believe that they are ready to extend the legacy of this large and long-standing Schodack orchard.
As local business owners, they plan to give back and become an integral part of the community through Windy Hill Orchard - East.
The tentative closing date for the property sale is May 1, Goold Miller said.
After the deal is closed the Seebergers plan to close the farm to the public for a few months in order to do some renovations, then reopen in mid-August in time for the start of apple season.
“We want to wow people when they come back in and see a totally different environment,” Scott said.
Following the first season as Windy Hill Orchard - East, Windy Hill Cidery & Winery is expected to open by next summer.
Goold Orchards is currently having an estate sale at the farm from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday, possibly continuing into next week.