Many people have asked for the story of how our orchard came to be — so here you are!
In the late 60’s Frank was in the Navy, and was stationed at the Bremerton Naval Base in Washington state. The family of one of his navy buddies had an apple orchard near Wenatchee and the two of them would often go over the mountains to the orchard to help pick apples on weekends. Frank really enjoyed this time and hoped that one day he would have the opportunity to have an orchard of his own.
Frank and Diane met in April of 1976 and were married in December of the same year. As part of a job transfer for Frank, they moved to the state of Washington. On the weekends Frank and Diane spent time at the local orchards and really enjoyed just driving and looking at the beauty that an orchard could provide. Frank told Diane of the times he used to spend picking apples and how he hoped that when they moved back to Wisconsin, they would be able to find land suitable for an apple orchard of their own. In 1979, two of their dreams came true...they had their first child, Frank Jared, who would later be the owner of another orchard, and they purchased the land that would be their very own apple orchard. Frank and Diane planted their first trees the following spring and continued to plant some trees every year until 1989 when about 700 trees were planted.
In the early years of the orchard, not only were all of the apples hand picked (like they are today) they were also hand polished. For several years, the apple cider was made with a hand-cranked press, which can be seen in the store. Jared and his sister, Karma, grew up helping with all parts of the orchard, including selling apples. Prior to the current store, a hayrack was used as a roadside stand, which was often manned by the kids after school. Occasionally someone still comes in and wants to know what ever happened to those tow-headed kids that used to sell them apples.
In 2002, Jared was searching for the perfect home, when another local orchard was put on the market. He decided that this would be the ideal supplement to his full-time job and shortly thereafter he purchased Hazard’s Orchard, which included about 2900 trees. Because of the large number of trees, the commercial kitchen, and the cider press at this new location, we decided to move our entire retail operation there in 2010. It went over better than we could have ever expected and look forward to many years of opening our orchard to the public in the falls to help each family make memories of their own.
Today, in order to continue to have a great orchard, trees are replaced annually with young trees, which will produce higher quality fruit with less labor than older trees. We currently grow and maintain about 7,000 trees — a mixture of dwarf and trellised trees. A dwarf apple tree’s most fruitful years are over within 20 years. There are now 3 generations of Lapaceks as Jared's wife, Kim, and daughters, Mercedi, Capri and Persimoni, are part of our family business.