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Letter to the Editor,
I read your Oct. 3, 2018 article about the Altamont Orchards on its 50th year with interest. Your report had many historical facts. I would like to add a few more facts.
My grandfather, Dr. Daniel H. Cook, began planting his orchard in the 1880s, and at the time named his orchard Altamont Orchards, making it almost 140 years old.
There was a huge farmhouse with a wrap around porch. On Halloween night, 1944, the house burned on a cold, rainy night.
When my father, Daniel H. Cook, operated the farm, we had 8,000 fruit bearing trees. He grew Red and Gold Delicious, Cortland, Macs, Northern Spy, Quincy and a few other varieties. When harvest time arrived, all of our pickers and packers were local people, neighbors. The apples were sorted and packed in the barn that still stands proudly. Then the crates were trucked to the Central Warehouse in Albany. Since, at that time, colleges and the Boys Academy did not start classes until the end of September, many of the boys picked our apples. I still remember any names as: Aronowitz, Steiner, Wincher, Karl and Don Slater. The Warners, Sonny Mock, Joe Grotto and so many others. Some of the old men of the mountains remember picking apples.
What a different world it was then when neighbors always helped neighbors.
Sally Cook Ketchum,
P.S. In 1999, The Altamont Enterprise printed in its 100 years ago column that Dr. Daniel H. Cook planted another 3,000 apple trees on his farm outside of Altamont.
One year, when the apples were ready to pick during World War II, so many young men were at war, we had a serious problem. Who will pick the apples? My father solved it by asking the La Salle Seminarians (located on Altamont Hill, Route 156). They arrived every day until the job was done. Our heroes that year.
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