A Sweetser Family Farm Since 1812.
In 1812 the original house that still stands today was built; it wasn’t until 1850 that the ell of the house was built. The first Apple trees were planted by Samuel Sweetser around 1840. Some of the varieties he planted such as Benoni, Jewett’s Fine Red and Mother are no longer available; but the orchard still grows some of the original varieties planted, such as Northern Spy, Rolfe, Baldwin, Wolf River, and Wealthy apples. Currently, 40 varieties of apples are available in the market each fall. Ten more varieties were planted in 2012 to mark the 200th anniversary of the homestead, bringing the total varieties growing in the orchard to 50.
Fredrick Sweetser continued with the orchard, but also was a partner in Sweetser & Osgood: Butchers and Provisioners. He established a meat business, both raising as well processing meat products such as sausage, lard and smoked meats. The meat business met its demise when the Food & Drug laws required refrigeration during transportation, and as all of their available means of transportation was by horse and wagon or sled to Portland stores, they were unable to continue. During this era they also grew produce such as corn and melons for market.
The Orchard flourished under the stewardship of Herman Sweetser, and expanded to include two 20 acre orchards on Orchard Hill road. In 1930 he planted 350 McIntosh and 550 Cortland trees (cost $0.35 apiece). It took seven years for the trees to mature and become fruit bearing. Those orchards were later sold to the Terrison brothers. Some of those trees are still producing today. Herman also cultivated strawberry plants to sell to garden supply stores.
Currently the Orchard is being run by Connie & Dick Sweetser and their son Greg. They maintain the 14 acre farm supporting more than 1,000 trees and gardens. They continue to plant new trees for the future, so the next generations can continue the family tradition of farming.