Barton Orchards has been around for 40 years, with 24 of those years being open to the public. The orchard grows many kinds of crops, including apples, vegetables and grapes.

“Location, location, location,” Peter Barton responded when asked why he stationed Barton Orchards in Poughquag. “We were fortunate that it was a positive location in southern Dutchess County, near the Taconic. It’s a part of our success.” There is also an off-site market in LaGrange.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population is comprised of farm and ranch families. Despite that number, Barton said he thinks the “level of education that we bring alone” is what makes Barton Orchards a strong business model going forward.

It is because of Barton’s passion for and dedication to agriculture that he is receiving the Business Excellence Award in the category of Agriculture from Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, formerly Dutchess County Economic Development Corp. The business will be honored during a Nov. 10 event.

Barton grew up on a farm, so it was “an easy transition” for him to run one as well, he said. “It’s not that easy today, of course,” he said, adding that it was the “pressure of development” decades ago that led to Barton Orchards becoming a public venue for agriculture.
“The industry in itself was in turmoil,” he explained. “The high cost of existing here was a main factor that pushed us to be creative and find another avenue.” He decided to open the doors of Barton Orchards to the public.

Barton said he believes it is the aspect of tourism that has made Barton Orchards an asset to the community. He cited the distance many of his customers are willing to travel to get to his orchards and the money they spend throughout the community. The other factor, he said, is that the business has become a tradition for many people.

“It’s a growing family tradition,” Barton said. “Those three words are what we’ve become and what we’re all about.” Tom Mullins has been a loyal customer of Barton Orchards for several years. “He’s created a great family environment,” he said. “His farm is children and family-friendly, and provides wonderful products. Barton is a welcomed asset to the Town of Beekman.”

Barton said he was “elated” when he discovered that he was receiving the award.“I’ve spent my whole adult life here in the Hudson Valley,” he said. “I’ve seen agriculture go from being unappreciated to communities realizing its significance. It’s been a good, rewarding experience and this award gives a special meaning to it.”

Barton attributes the success of his business to “staying true” to his vision. “I’ve been able to create an experience for people for creating memories and looking forward to your next visit,” he said. “In any business, you have to evolve but remember to still stay true to your core and remember what your end goal is. If you keep your business going and growing, it can become very successful and rewarding.”
Frank Castella Jr., president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that Barton is “more than worthy” of this award.

“He has taken the orchard from simply a pick-your-own farm into a true destination for families to come and spend a day together,” he said. “He is not only honest, meticulous and hardworking, but he also possesses a business acumen and an extremely generous spirit.” Barton said receiving the Business Excellence Award means a great deal to him. “Being in the Hudson Valley for my whole life, it’s very humbling to know that I’ve created a positive impact on my community and in Dutchess County as a whole, and to know that I’m being honored for a life of hard work,” Barton said. “The Hudson Valley is such a beautiful place. It’s been a treasure to grow up here and be a business owner. The beauty we have here and on the farm is something I never take for granted."

Contact Journal intern Adriana Belmonte at abelmonte2@poughkeepsiejournal.com

“It’s more about recreation now," concedes Peter Barton, who owns the 122-acre family farm that boasts a 5-acre corn maze.
And recreation is exactly why people go: DJs spin on midweek school holidays, while live bands take the stage on weekends.

Gina and Michael Noriega wanted to go apple and pumpkin picking for Gina’s birthday on Thursday so they Googled the topic. Barton Orchards in Poughquag was at the top of the search engine’s list. So, the couple made the 45-minute trek from their White Plains home and happily admitted that it was well worth the drive.

"I’ve talked to a few families recently. They’ve all told me they don’t apple pick. Really? You mean your not taking your kids to the hay ride, face painting, pumpkin patch, the burlap slide at Barton Orchards!! YOU JUST HAVE TO GO I say!"

A short, twenty minute, drive from Vassar College, Barton Orchards is set in a lovely rural area of Poughaug, New York. Cars pull up onto their grass to form a temporary parking lot for the unending line of visitors eager to explore this autumn staple.

New for (the 2013) season, the gigantic five-acre maze has the theme ‘‘Ghost Girl’’ based on the Pac-Man-inspired graffiti by Queens artist Matt Siren.
Dotted among the 15-foot-high stalks of corn...are works by Siren’s peers, including UFO, Moody, Cassius Fouler and Crasty