Currently in the 8th generation of Lynd apple growers. The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd generations were in southern Ohio. A. T. (Alton Tecumseh) Lynd (4th generation) migrated up from southern Ohio in 1919. He purchased an existing 80 acre farm (mostly already in planted orchard) east of Route 310 and along both sides of Morse Road. This original orchard had been planted in about 1880 so some of the trees were close to 40 years old in 1919. This was a very old and mature orchard and would soon have to be replanted.
A.T. raised six sons on these original 80 acres. Three of the six decided to stay “on the farm” (Alvin, Ed & Arnold), and they made the 5th generation of apple growers. Thus, expansion and more production became necessary in order to support three more families. About the mid 40’s, another 80 acres were added between the original orchard location and S.R. #310.
In the late 40’s, bits and pieces of six different farms were acquired from surrounding landowners and added to the expanding orchards totaling 380 acres.
In the early 50’s, a 40 acre existing orchard was acquired that was located about 6-7 miles south of Morse Road in Etna on U.S. Route 40. This was before I-70 was built and Route 40 was a dominant four lane cross country highway. A retail market was built at this location in 1954. It became famous for “Cider, All You Can Drink for 10¢”. Several billboard signs were placed along Route 40 which proved to be quite effective. This concept drew huge summer crowds of highway travelers as well as the locals.
In the early 60’s, a 50 acre plot was acquired west and south of S.R. #310 which for all practical purposes completed the expansion by A.T. and his three sons. There were about 250 to 300 acres of orchard by the mid 60’s and Lynds could boast of being the largest orchard operation in Ohio.
All of this expansion required additional support facilities. So, a new packing house, cold storages, and a cider mill expansion were added. Toward the end of the 60’s some of the 6th generation of Lynds (Mitch, Dave, Lester, Steve) were being absorbed into the operation. This meant more families to support and more expansion/production would be needed.
The Pick Your Own Apples program started in the middle 60’s. During the first few years, customers parked in the packing house area and were hauled out to (and back from) the orchards on wagons on loan from The Ohio State Fair, but after several years the crowds became too large for this to work smoothly. The decision was made to allow the customers to drive directly into the orchards and park near the trees, a decision that proved very popular with the general public! Wagon rides came back as an optional fun activity in 1996. Restored antique John Deere tractors were acquired to pull our custom made people wagons.
In the late 60’s, Interstate 70 was opened and Route 40 was downgraded to a local access, four lane highway. Location, location, location! Very few cross-country tourists were making an effort to get off the freeway and stop for cider and apples.
The market was sold in 1977 after 22 years of activity. It remained as a retail store/market for several years but was not associated with us. It is closed at this time, another victim of the changing times and the habits of people. The orchard was sold in the early 90’s and is now a housing development.
Bad year of 1975! Apple yields historically alternate from heavy one year to light the next. This is an anticipated event and it is taken in stride and considered in planning, budgeting, etc. However, hail storms cannot be anticipated and can ruin a crop of apples in a flash! 1975’s crop was extensively damaged by a summer hail storm, and consequently a majority of the crop went from extra fancy grade to utility grade. The impact on gross revenues and profitability was significant.
More expansion. The 6th generation (Mitch, Dave, Lester, Steve) decided that in addition to expansion they also needed to lessen the odds of being adversely affected by the vagaries of nature. The most desirable orchard sites are at higher elevations, and 192 acres of farmland located near the highest area in Licking County were acquired for orchard expansion. This orchard is ten miles north of the Morse Road farm on Sportsman Club Road, four miles east of Johnstown.
After the mid 70’s, the game plan was to operate several orchards located away from the central farm site. Hopefully, one hail storm would not ruin the whole crop. As the retail market on U.S. 40 was sold in 1977, pick your own apples at the Morse Road farm became the primary method of retailing the crop.
1977 was a real DISASTER! A cold spell during spring bloom wiped out all of the apple crop. Not even cider apples were grown! There were less than 2,000 bushels harvested as compared to a normal crop of about 150,000 bushels.
Some family members had to find off farm employment in 1977. This further confirmed the need to spread out and diversify.
Thankfully, 1978 was a normal crop year!
About 1/3 of the orchards are now located to the north of the main farm.
Currently, (2014) the farm and orchards are located in three different townships and consist of about 500 acres. We have approximately 60,000 apple trees. We also have 20 acres of peaches and 16 acres of berries. We also grow several varities of pears and plums which are harvested and sold in the market.
Average yearly crop: 75,000 bushels
Apple storage: Regular = 50,000 bu. capacity; Controlled Atmosphere = 76,000 bushel capacity
In 2010 the decision was made to get out of the wholesale business and concentrate on retailing all of our crops. Most of the apples are sold through the growing Pick Your Own program and some are sold through the new market (2010).
We offer 15 varieties of apples for Pick Your Own and grow a small number of several more which are sold in the market. Hundreds of new varities (both named and unnamed) are grown for testing purposes. Mitch Lynd, co-founder of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association monitors the test trees used to develop improved varieties.
It takes about 40 leaves to support and grow one apple on a standard tree. Smaller trees require about 25 leaves to support an apple.
It takes about 3 years for a tree to bear any measurable crop; 6-7 years to be profitable.
Professionals (mostly migrant workers) pick and store apples in 18 bushel bins, which replaced individual bushel crates in 1964. They are generally paid by the bin. Housing is furnished as part of their wages. There are several modern apartments provided for their usage on the farm.