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Home » Farm Profiles, Hillsborough County (Nashua/Manchester Region), Milford

McLeod Bros. Orchards, Milford, NH

By Helen Brody

Is there a more forlorn vision than that of man of the earth being confined to a desk? Not if you happened to be Donald K. McLeod, graduate of the University of New Hampshire in Animal Husbandry back in 1927. On impulse, or perhaps desperation, Donald left that desk in 1946, bought a farm in Milford, and planted two orchards, one for apples and a smaller one for peaches. With his brother Kenneth, who joined him after serving in the Navy, they developed a lucrative wholesale apple business with controlled storage.

In the 1970s, the son of Donald K, Donald W. McLeod, took over the reins of the farm with his wife, Valerie, picking up right where his father left off.

Donald W. died in 1991, leaving the orchards to his wife and two daughters, Kris Mossey and Becky McLeod. As the wholesale apple business was beginning to decline from global competition, the three McLeod ladies decided that the primary business would continue to be apples, but by diversifying the farm to include summer vegetables and berries, they would be able to extend their production season and diversify their crops to take full advantage of the local farmers’ markets. The ladies also decided to increase the variety of apples, replant the peach orchard, and add fall vegetables and a fall CSA (see farm news category) to their late season offerings.

mcleodaMcLeod Bros. Orchards is most assuredly a family operation, but as Richard Mossey, Kris’s husband, says with only a trace of a smile, “I do as I’m told. The three women make the plan.” Each member of the family seems to fall into doing what they do best because as Kris, who with her mother works the farm full time, astutely observes, “You have to let people enjoy what they are doing to have it done well.”

For Richard, an engineer in the aerospace industry, farm mechanics is definitely his thing. Kris’s sister Becky, who works full time in quality control at Budweiser, manages the website, helps in advertising and other ways and mother Valerie does the books. Becky’s husband, Ron, an art teacher, “loves to help get the vegetable garden ready – plowing and harrowing – because he likes the garden to look really nice,” says Kris.

Nor are the Mossey children absolved from chipping in when they’re around. Derek claims he gets all the bad jobs on the farm, like pulling up the black plastic mulching. Ashley is great with sales.

Pruning is a venture that beckons all able body souls in early spring. And come fall and apple season, says Kris “it’s all hands on deck. We have no time to plan special events.” Gourds, winter squash, popcorn, pumpkins and of course apples, hanging thick and ripe on the limbs virtually cry out for picking and delivery to the farm stand and farmers markets. The McLeod clan also must keep a steady eye on the pick-your-own operation.

Autumn is indeed a busy time, but as Kris says, “It’s a happy time; it gives us great pleasure to watch the visitors relax in the Adirondack chairs or picnic at the tables while they appreciate a setting that we are preserving for future generations to enjoy.”

McLeod Bros. Orchards                                                                                                        
Kris Mossey, contact
North River Rd.
Milford, NH
603-554-6792
www.mcleodorchards.com

Retail: (direct to the customer):
Milford and Bedford farmers markets
Fall CSA
Farmstand: Pick your own (Open Labor Day weekend)

 

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Published on: October 10, 2013 Last modified on: May 10, 2016


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