Published on April 17, 2012 | by Helena Schaden0
Apples are our Specialty
Last week we visited End of the Commons General Store in our history tour throughout the county. This week we are visiting Sage’s Apples Farm in Chardon. Located on Rt. 6 just one and a half miles from Chardon Square, this apple orchard and farm is infamous to locals for sweet tasting apples, cider, and produce.
But how did Sage’s Apples begin?
In 1917, Jay Sage built the present main barn and soon after built the house. Initially, the plan was to develop a nursery business, but slow sales put a halt to that. During that time however, apple trees were begging for attention, and Jay planted his first orchard. On the farm there were cows, chickens, and sheep.
In the early 1950’s, Jay’s son, Allen, graduated from Ohio State and began helping at the farm. Tired from taking apples into Cleveland several times a week, the market moved from the table by the road into a remodeled stable in 1957. And a John Deere M took over for the two horses. Probably the deciding factor in making Sage’s Apples what it is today took place in 1952 when Allen and his wife Eleanor had discovered how good the Melrose apple was. They decided to initiate their first big planting of this variety of apple. With a growing family and farm sales increasing, Allen planted more Melrose and also a few new varieties to satisfy customers. As the years passed, more Melrose along with other varieties were planted to help put his three children through college.
The orchard and market moved into expansion mode as Allen’s two sons began showing interest in the orchard business. The present market was built in 1972 to give more floor space for additional crops.
For over 80 years the Sage family has specialized in growing superior tasting apples. To accomplish the task of pleasing their customers over an extended marketing season, over 50 varieties of apples are raised. Along with the apples, a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables allow the retail market to be open from mid July into May of the following year. Everything grown is sold through the market and includes approximately 25 acres of apples, 20 acres of sweet corn, 2/3 acre of blueberries, 1/4 acre brambles, 3 acres of peaches, 2 acres of pumpkins, and 3 acres of other crops such as tomatoes, squash, green beans, dried flowers, pears, grapes, plums, and cherries. Each season has its attractions. Sweet corn, blueberries, red raspberries, and summer apples are the high point from July through September. Fall brings the beautiful autumn color of the many maple trees in Geauga County as well as fresh apple cider, pumpkins, and as many as 15 kinds of apples to sample at one time.
One of my favorite memories growing up in Chardon is taking a trip to Sage’s. I would always anticipate what apples would be available to taste and couldn’t wait to come home with a gallon of their cider. My kids now enjoy making Sage’s a regular stop throughout the year for our farm fresh produce. Their friendly staff is willing to show you around and help you pick your favorite apple!