Grandview Orchard Begins New Chapter
Godfrey Gabriel compares Grandview Orchard to a beehive—the worker bees may change but the hive must survive.
That transition is underway at the 110-year-old Grandview Orchard, a treasured local resource that is now under the care of Lisa Rettinger after decades of ownership by Gabriel and his wife, Elaine.
It’s exciting to be becoming the caretaker of such a wonderful piece of property, Rettinger said. The Gabriels have done a wonderful job with the orchard and I hope to follow in their footsteps.
Grandview is named for what it offers, a grand view of a gigantic swath of Langlade County.
It is located along what is technically known as a hogback, a ridge with a sharp crest and abruptly sloping sides formed by glaciers. It’s among the county’s highest points, at 1,600 feet that at one one time was home to a state fire tower, although the area only contains wooden benches today.
It’s a wonderful place to sit and contemplate, Rettinger said.
The orchard was first planted by the Cherf family, who operated it for four decades and then Jack Jones. The Gabriels took it over in 1958.
The property covers 35 acres, with the orchard’s 1,000 trees criss-crossing about 25 of them. The area is dotted with massive boulders, another leftover from the glacial age.
A daughter of Norman and Gloria Rettinger, the new owner grew up near Antigo, graduating from high school here in 1996. She received an agronomy degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and spent much of the past two decades in the Twin Cities, working in a seed testing lab and most recently in business development, a job she will continue through the winter.
Now, she said, was the right time to return north, and with the help of Darrell McDougal of First Weber Real Estate, the sale was closed at the end of November.
I was ready to come home, Rettinger said. I’m really interested in gardening and I wanted to come back and do something I love.
Rettinger plans to continue some of the orchard’s favorite traditions—including the popular Apple Festival—while adding some of her own. She is marketing fresh-pressed cider now, and hopes to expand into additional value-added products in the future.
She also plans to regenerate the orchard with additional trees, raised in a environmentally sustainable manner.
Among the healthiest of treats, apples are available now in a 20 different varieties, along with that fresh cider, local maple syrup, honey, jams and wild rice. And just in time for Christmas, holiday pies are available.
Rettinger has also started a Facebook page, accessible by serving for Grandview Orchard and Nursery Stock, and a website at grandvieworchard.com.
The Gabriels have had the orchard for sale for several years, and had plenty of lookers, but the timing was never quite right.
We were afraid it was going to end with us, Gabriel said.
Then Rettinger came along.
Lisa has a great deal of enthusiasm, Mrs. Gabriel, who was working sorting and packaging apples earlier this week, said. It’s a good fit.
While Rettinger is the owner, the Gabriels will remain in the house for now, ready to provide a bit of guidance as needed, while slowly tapering off from the daily responsibilities.
We have a new thrust, Gabriel said. It’s to help Lisa succeed so that the orchard continues.
Source: Antigo Daily Journal