|The Big Apple
207 Arnold St
Cash & Checks ONLY
Sorry no Credit Cards accepted
The Big Apple History
|The Big Apple is currently owned and run by John Morse and his wife Peg. Today the farm boasts 26 varieties of apples, 28 types of farm fresh vegetables, blueberry and raspberry arbors, pumpkin patches, and a wonderful bakery in the store. The Big Apple, as it is known today, has been owned and operated by the Morse family since 1950. The actual farm name is Pine Hedge Orchards but people began calling it The Big Apple because of the large carved wooden apple that hung above the entrance to the barn. The namesake carved Apple can still be seen hanging as you enter the farm stand today! The different owners have created a rich history.
1950 - MORSE
Thomas and Natalie Morse purchased the farm as a good place to raise their family of five sons; Tom, Pete, Steve, and Greg and John. Thomas worked for Texas Instruments in Attleboro while Natalie and her sons started a farm stand called the Big Apple. At first the apples were sold offsite near Wampum Corner in Wrentham, MA. As business picked up, apples were sold from a card table in front of the old barn. The barn had been renovated from a cow barn and chicken coop. The basement area was converted into cold storage. Subsequent renovations over the years have made The Big Apple a modern fruit storage and processing facility, with viewing areas for the apple grader and donut machine. Even though the farm stand is known as The Big Apple, the farm has been known as Pine Hedge Orchards since 1930.
1945 - GILMAN-OSIER
The Morses purchased Pine Hedge Orchards from George Gilman and Mrs. Osier in 1950. At the time the farm consisted of 53 acres strewn with run down out buildings, chicken coops, remains of arbors and plantings, and stumps and fallen trees from the hurricane of 1939. There was only a small apple orchard serving the Gilman business and a cow barn converted into a chicken coop. The Gilmans used Pine Hedge Orchard to grow apples and other fruit for a small off-site stand.
1942 - LISKER
The Gilmans bought the farm from Nathan and Beatrice Lisker. The Liskers were manufacturers of costume jewelry. They converted the barn to chicken coops and raised chickens during WWII.
1911 - MCGREGOR
The Liskers bought the farm from Major McGregor and his brother, Colonel William McGregor. The Major used the farm as a retirement project for his brother, the Colonel, an eccentric who ran it in a very military fashion. The Major was a large contributor to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, MA and the farm was used as a nursery and surplus plant storage. It was during their ownership that the farm was named Pine Hedge Orchards because the Colonel planted many groves of ornamental pine trees. He also put up rose arbors, planted forsythia, hawthorn trees, and many exotic plants. The Colonel and Major invested considerable amounts of labor and money to make the farm a well ordered model of agriculture.
1901 - COOPS
The McGregors bought from the Coops, who loved the farm and visited it often during McGregors ownership. They sold out rather than be sold out.
1899 - ZIMMERMAN
The Coops bought from the Zimmermans. Zimmerman went broke and became the West Wrentham Postmaster. He later moved to New Jersey.
1890 - HITTINGER
In 1890 George and Julia Hittinger bought the farm. Hittinger started as a farmer, tending cows in a pasture across the street from the farm. He discovered gold in a protrusion of rock in the field. Lured by Ingis Fatuous he spent the rest of his time trying to mine the gold. For a few years, the Sheldonville gold mine had promise, until the expense of extracting the gold from the quartz granite and the flooding of the shaft made it impossible. He died owing back taxes on the property and his daughter finally sold it.
1884 - WARD
In 1984, Margaret Ward of Pittsburgh Iron bought the property. The family had three daughters, the youngest of which was born on the farm. They loved the farm and were outstanding in developing it. They all visited the property when McGregor owned it.
1840 - CHEEVERS
In 1840 Otis and Eliza Cheevers owned and ran the farm before and during the Civil War. Otis was a well known farm paper publisher and his work on the farm was chronicled in his magazine. He was sometimes known as skim-milk Cheever for his thrifty ways. He built the existing farmhouse and the adjoining street bears his name (Otis Street). His son became a Boston doctor and visited the farm when the McGregors owned it.