A brief timeline for Soons Orchards...
1910 William Soons founds Orchard Hill Farm. The Soons Orchards name was adopted later in the ‘50s.
1922 Sinclair and Helen marry
1930s Sinclair Soons takes over farm operations.
1939 First tractor purchased
1945 Last team of horses purchased
1959 Art and Sandy Soons marry and begin buying the farm in 1962 (They finish paying it off in 1976.)
1963 Cider mill is built
1968 Salesroom addition is built
1987 Scotty’s Country Kitchen founded by Laura Soons and Scott Thornton.
1998 UV (Ultraviolet) treatment technology adopted for cider
2000 U-Pick orchard opens for first season
1999 New peach orchard comes online; first Soons peaches in 30+ years.
2000 Soons joins the World Wide Web; prints the first “Apple Press” newsletter
2002 Soons perfects apple cider donuts
2004 Soons “documentary” debuts
2006 Soons first-ever nectarines
2007 Scotty’s Country Kitchen celebrates 20 years; Grandma's Kitchen debuts for fall weekends
2008 First Blossom Bash weekend
2009 First ever U-Pick peaches (it was a big crop!!)
2010... We celebrated our 100 year anniversary!
2011 Our first major renovation in a long time - we added a tasting room for future hard cider, an addition to our "wholesale" side of the building, and a great new porch that people just love to hang out on!
2012 More construction, updating our inside a bit and hanging some great photographs of the farm.
Barn building in 1938 (the original barn burned). We still have this barn today. Lots of barn details in the video to the right -->
What kind of a name is Soons?
A brief history of Soons Orchards
Around 1910, William Soons, an electrical engineer living and working in New York City, decided to move north and try his hand at dairy farming. Always being a student of horticulture from his youth in England, William was soon planting trees everywhere - hardwoods, plus apple, pear and peach trees. And Orchard Hill Farm was born. One of his sons, Sinclair, (1896-1984) became the next farming Soons, as he expanded wholesale apple sales and the dairy. Sinclair married Helen (1902-1996), also a New York City transplant, a school teacher who grew up in a family store setting. Their youngest of four, Arthur, completed college at Princeton University and army service before settling down with Sandra, a Nebraska native and Vassar graduate. Since 1959, Art and Sandy (pictured below, circa 1960) have worked to make Soons what it is today, along the way re-named to Soons Orchards (easier sign-making was the motivation!)
The entrepreneurial spirit continues as eldest son Jeffrey, also an attorney, takes over orchard and farm operations. Daughter Laura, and husband Scott, founded Scotty's Country Kitchen in 1987 and continue to hone their mouth-watering recipes. The youngest, Sharon, spent 10 years in the NYC non-profit world before rejoining the family business and starting her own, Streamline U., offering professional organizing and home staging services throughout the Hudson Valley.
The future holds continued challenge as we expand our selection of fruit for sale, manage our U-Pick operations, and offer new items like fall weekend food service, freshly prepared foods, cut flowers, homemade fudge, along with new events like dinners at the farm, Blossom Bash, Founders Weekend and others.
So what kind of a name is Soons... truthfully, we're not totally sure. Art's family originated from England and Ireland, but we think there are some Dutch descendants before that which may've started the name.
The original Orchard Hill Farm apple barn; we've since added on a bit!
Check out a Soons YouTube video - Soons history starts at 6:37!