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Executive turned Hobby Farmer
Old 02-10-2012, 11:24 PM   #1
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Executive turned Hobby Farmer

Hi everyone, I joined the forum a few weeks back. At the end of 2011 I decided 2012 would be my last year in the job I have held for the last 27 years. I helped to develope a manufacturing company from 4 employees in 1985 to almost 300 employees today. If you know what has happened to manufacturing in the U.S. during the last 20 years you will realize our success did not come easy.
I found this forum during my end of the year holiday break. I found it to be both informative and interesting. At first I thought it was funny how people were actually counting there hours, days, and months until their retirement. I guess for the most part I have always enjoyed my work so deciding to hang it up is kind of bitersweet.
Anyway, since I made the decision to retire, I also have stated counting the months, and am now very much looking forward to the new experience. I will be 62 in July and my wife is one year younger then me. I am thinking about retiring sometime between January 2013 and at the latest July of 2013. We are in the process of inhereiting part of a large farm which is adjacent to our house. Although I am a city boy, about 3 years ago I decided to start a Peach orchard as a hobby. This was not a total accident since my wife's father who passed away about 10 years ago had a large orchard on the same property. Yep, I married a farm girl and have never regretted it.
We now have over 2000 peach trees and I totally love my new found hobby. I guess some would call it a job, but it just hasn't worked out that way for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my new experience. I love working outside and literally enjoy the fruits of my labor. We also grow Strawberries. apples, pears, and nectarines. If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a fairly active type person.
At this point I can't wait to leave the rat race and watch my trees grow. My plan is to teach my three grand kids how to work. I don't intend to leave them a ton of money. Just a hobby type job and a family tradition. This spring my 8 year old granddaughter wants to run the strawberry patch. To me that is awesome.
Sorry this is so long. i will conclude by saying you have a wonderful forum and I look forward to communicating more with you all as I enter the next stage of my life.
CJ
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:41 AM   #2
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Hi CJ. Congratulations on your achievement. It sounds like you have a great opportunity ahead teaching your grandchildren to work and growing some peaches to boot! If you have any extra peaches and aren't sure what to do, I volunteer to take them off your hands.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:59 AM   #3
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Yeah, I wouldn't mind a peach pie or two. PM me and I will send you my mailing address.

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Old 02-11-2012, 07:07 AM   #4
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Welcome. We don't get too many executives here.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:08 AM   #5
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I love peach ice cream. Even more so if handmade on July 4th, with cream and eggs, in a tin can with salt and ice to cool it the old fashioned way.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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Welcome, cjacks. I know about the unmatchable satisfaction of growing your own food, and eating it two seconds after picking it. It's also a cornerstone of better health, or so I believe. I had a nice organic hobby orchard and vegetable garden going (strictly for our own use) for many years, although deer and crows were becoming a problem.

Finally, the stink bugs invaded, and destroyed everything before it could ripen. Last year, I got not one peach, apple, or tomato, after all my labor. I know you will understand that was heartbreaking. We don't like the heavy insecticides that must be used against stink bugs, so are giving up food gardening this year. I hope your wonderful farm remains free of these awful pests!

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Old 02-11-2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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Well, I'm not sure if Executive was the best word to describe my position. It was late when I started this thread and the word Executive seemed to give more contrast to the hobby farmer part. Actually I was a hands on VP of Operations. Although I spent a lot of time with the owners doing Executive type things, I normally didn't consider myself an Executive.
Sorry if I mislead anyone. Now I need to straighten a couple other things out. First, I am not mailing anyone any Peach Pies. I can't bake and I have to beg my farm girl wife to make me one once and a while. But her pies are the best. Secondly, I never said I was an organic grower. I do like to describe my operation as semi organic. Farmers and chemicals are kind pf like people and pills. You know how they now make a pill for every thing, Well they make a chemical for everything. Quite frankly, I think people take way to many pills and farmers use way to many chemicals. I only use the basic unrestricted stuff at the minimum rate. I am learning alot about organic type processes that help reduce pests and disease.
Now the good news, if you ever have a reason to be in Northeast Ohio in the summer time you are welcome to pm me and stop by for some fresh semi organic peaches or strawberries.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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I saw your location as Salem and guessed that it was Oregon, but I see you are in NE Ohio, so it must be the Salem near Alliance. I'm just north of Akron.

Got Snow?
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:28 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum cjacks. You now have me hungry for some fresh peaches and strawberries! I think that it will be wonderful being with and teaching your grandchildren about farming, business and I am sure life in general. You will be creating special memories for them, which will be priceless.

We lived in Columbus OH for 9 years. We are now in Morgantown WV. We go up to Lake Erie and to the Cedar Point Amusement Park every once in a while. It has probably been over 5 yrs since we have been there.
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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Hi Cjacks,

I grew up in NW Ohio. My parents used to drive up to Sandusky, Ohio (along Lake Erie for you non Ohioans) late each summer to pick peaches from the orchards up there. It was a great family tradition. We would pack a picnic and make it a family event. Then we would come back home with 5 or 6 buschels of peaches and my mom would can all the peaches that we couldn't each fresh. We stopped going as the orchards started disappearing. It's nice to know that there are still some orchards around up there. Good luck on your new adventure.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Welcome. It sounds like you have a busy next stage of life planned. Do you have a road side stand or u-pick operation planned or do you wholesale it? I raised enough produce to do the local farmers market with my boys for 2 summers. They were 8 & 11 years old at the time. They learned a lot about sales, setting prices, and dealing with customers. We had a blast.
Enjoy the experience with your grandkids and good luck.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:18 PM   #12
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Sue J and others,
Yep were getting a little snow and it's all my fault. I just took the snow blade off the tractor a couple days ago. A lot of people don't know it but Ohio is the 4th largest grower of peaches in the U.S. Salem is located halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. And Akron is not to far away. We are in the hilly part of Ohio. The big news in this area is the gas that has been discovered in the Marcellus shale. Things are changing fast, we have Jed Clampetts running around all over the place. They are currently paying $6000/ acre for mineral rights plus 15% to 20% royalties.
Since I've got you thinking about fruit I should mention we also have some Nectarines, Bartlett pears, and apples. Nectarines are peaches without the fuzz. I didn't put in alot of apples because there are alot of growers in the area and they just don't fetch that much money. I have about 300 apple trees total. We have Honey Crisp, Melrose, Jonagold, Gala, and Empire. My favorite is the Melrose which is very popular in Ohio.
Anyway, it is good to hear back from you folks, and again this sure is a nice forum.
CJ
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cjacks View Post
...Now I need to straighten a couple other things out. First, I am not mailing anyone any Peach Pies...
Oh good!

I am late to this thread and thought I would be missing out on the free goodies.

But now, knowing that earlier posters to this thread also are empty-handed spares me the envy.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:49 PM   #14
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Welcome cjacks!

It sounds like you have an active lifestyle planned. I look forward to hearing more about your farming activities and the grandkids involvement. It all sounds good.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:18 PM   #15
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Powerplay,
I just hope my body can hold up to what my mind has planned! The farming may be the easy part, I'm worried about keeping up with the kids,
CJ
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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Back in the day at Megacorp I attended an annual seminar in Cleveland every year for several years. The seminar was in May, which is Spring there with everything blooming. I'm from the deep South where May is already high summer. DW was able to accompany me on a few trips. We would play hooky to visit the Amish country south of Cleveland. The Ohio Amish are some serious farmers. We would also make a quick day trip to Niagara Falls. We were back in time for the tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Jacobs Field which were usually part of the seminar entertainment. One thing that impressed me (since I am from the deep South) was the GAR (Grand Army Of The Republic) monument in downtown Cleveland, which (to me) is as impressive as any monument at Gettysburg.
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:54 AM   #17
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JakeBrake,
Back in the 50's when Steel was king Shaker Heights (in Cleveland) was the wealthiest city in the Country. Both Cleveland and Pittsbugh get alot of bad press but they are great places. From Salem it is 65 miles to either city. Yes we have a big Amish and Mennonite population in the area. Generally they are good hard working folks, but they have some strange traits and are extremely shrewd business people. Three years ago I harvested 5 truckloads of black walnut trees out of woods and sold them to a Amish guy just north of here. The first week I started, this Amish guy was in his buggy with his 7 kids and pregnant wife. They were hit from behind by an SUV travelling at a high rate of speed by a drunk driver. The wife died but they were able to save the baby. The kids all escaped with mostly minor injuries. I had just been on the phone with this guy 2 hours before the accident. ( and yes some Amish people use phones )
As far as our weather here in N.E. Ohio is concerned, our springs and falls are hard to beat. Most of our summers are very pleasant. But we don't see the sun much from mid November to March.
CJ
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:04 AM   #18
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Interesting story, thanks for sharing. Having an encore career/hobby lined up is outstanding. I have a BIL who has been very successful as a high end residential building contractor over the past 30 odd years. He has also accumulated a lot of real estate. About 5+ years ago, he bought a PYO apple orchard (within walking distance of his home) from a retiring couple. He bought it for the land, to build on or sell one day. But he gave the orchard a go for one year, and got hooked even though he had never grown anything before. He has 2000 apple trees, and he's added nectarines, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, zucchini and some other crops. Started as PYO only, now he sells to nurseries and a distiller (hard cider) also - they came to him! He absolutely loves it, he talks about the orchard far more than construction. So I have a sense of how fulfilling that path can be. You sound like him, successful (not just $) in whatever you touch. Good for you, and I hope you enjoy your "hobby" as much as BIL does!
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:25 AM   #19
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Welcome, CJ. You sure do live in a nice part of the country. Before the young wife and I moved here to CT in 1989, we lived up in Painesville on the lake. The young wife took her masters at Kent State and did her student teaching in Mantua (pronounced "manaway", for the benefit of those not from the area). For entertainment in those days, we often just drove around, so we had the opportunity to see quite a bit of your neighborhood.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:30 AM   #20
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Gumby,

Very Off Topic I know, but why do you continually refer to your wife as the young wife? Do you have an older one stashed somewhere?

Amethyst (used to be a young wife, now just a middle-aged one but STILL younger than husband)

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Before the young wife and I moved here ...The young wife took ....
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