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Knight Orchards becomes a 'Century Farm'

The Knight Family became a fixture of Saratoga County when it moved to Burnt Hills and began operating an 80 acre farm in 1907. Dairy farming turned into fruit production and the family's fourth generation continues to carry on Knight Orchards of Saratoga County, Inc. today. The family's decades of labor paid off, when on Thursday, Jan. 7, the operation was one of four in New York State named a Century Farm.

This honor, awarded at the 178th Annual Agricultural Forum of the New York State Agricultural Society, recognizes families dedicated to farming, stewardship and community involvement that have been family owned and operated for more than 100 years.

The farm has come a long way in the century it's existed. Shipping fruit in barrels by horse drawn wagons and traveling via railroads and dirt roads gave way to road stands and a retail store with everything from apples to pies to custom-made fruit baskets.

Knight Orchards is run mainly by Jerold and Kathleen Knight and their two sons. This minimizes the need for outside labor and helps keep the focus on developing and expanding road sales and direct marketing. Changes that have come about because of the emphasis on family work force has been a retail farm market, modern day controlled atmosphere storage rooms, refrigeration, mechanical handling and bulk equipment, mechanized fruit grading, transition to dwarf trees and modern day varieties and construction of the cider mill for value added production, said Penny Heritage, executive secretary of the New York State Agricultural Society.

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