Growing up just a few miles from Holmberg Orchard, Rosie Petty has plenty of fond memories of time spent there.
“I remember getting off the school bus there and picking pumpkins and squash after school,” said Petty.
Now Petty, and her husband, Dave, will be making new memories at the rural Vesta operation, as they recently agreed to purchase the orchard.
“I have a passion for the fruit industry and have always wanted to do something in it,” said Petty, adding she also spent time working at the Hilltop Harvest strawberry farm as a youth. “This just became the right opportunity.”
The Pettys saw that the orchard was on the market this past November, and they started talking about the idea of buying it over the winter.
Then COVID-19 hit, said Petty, adding that put things on hold for a little while.
Discussions ultimately continued, and the Pettys became the official owners as of mid-July.
To ensure that things could go off as planned, the Pettys got a head start and did some tree pruning and planted several acres of squash in May, and because of that they will be able to open up this fall.
The official open date has not yet been determined, but will likely be sometime during September.
Dave and Rosie Petty were both working in Emmetsburg, Iowa when they purchased the orchard, and Dave has continued in that employment role while Rosie takes on the full-time work at the orchard.
Currently, they are looking for a place they can call home in the area, said Rosie.
At this time, the Pettys purchased just the orchard, but they have an agreement that will allow them over time to purchase more of the land and the homestead as well.
“Lee (Holmberg, who along with wife, Sindie, opened the orchard) has been mentoring us through the process,” said Rosie, adding they have truly appreciated his wisdom.
Rosie, who has an ag business degree, said the plan is to get started simply and to allow things to grow.
They are planning to have the gift shop open, and Rosie said they are using the same caramel source the Holmbergs did to make caramel apples.
There are eight different varieties of apples growing in the orchard, with Honey Crisp being the most prevalent.
As was the case with the Holmbergs, the Pettys will employ people to help with picking.
Working in the orchard has been something Rosie said she is really enjoying.
“It is so peaceful and relaxing,” she said, adding it has been a lot of fun just watching the apples grow and change.”
The entire process has been a huge learning experience, added Rosie, and she is looking forward to the day when they are open for the public.
Rosie indicated that they are currently working to update their social media presence, which, she said will be the best way for people to find updates on the orchard.
Yes, she added, the name Holmberg Orchard will stay simply because it has a great reputation in the area.
They will make it their own by building on that success.