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This week’s edition!

Ricker Hill Orchards named MGFPA Producer of the Year 

 Family business partners (l. to r.) Jeff Timberlake, Harry Ricker, and Andy Ricker

The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association has named Ricker Hill Orchards of Turner its 2017 Producer of the Year. While Ricker Hill Orchards has been known primarily for its apples, grown at orchards spread across seven Maine towns and ninety percent of which are sold in Maine and Eastern New Hampshire, the business has in recent years successfully expanded in several different directions.

In addition to apples, they now produce cranberries, pumpkins, blueberries, and grapes. And they haven’t stopped at harvesting and wholesaling their fruits. In the early 2000s, they opened a Farm Stand and bakery that offers savory homemade donuts and a variety of value-added products. During harvest season, they cater to friends and families looking for weekend fun with u-pick apple orchards and a disc golf course, corn maze, sugar shack, bounce houses, and more.

Their vision and ability to predict customer demand has aided in their success. In 2014, they launched a line of hard ciders and opened a tasting room in Turner. Most recently, they’ve purchased and integrated a new cider press into their operation, one of only six or seven presses in North America capable of producing more than 1,000 gallons per hour. The operation also boasts over 1,000 acres of uncultivated wildlife habitat and hundreds of acres of wetland.

Founded in 1803, the business is rich in family history. Seventh generation owner Don Ricker, who is 81 years young, still works each day alongside his family business partners, including sons Harry and his wife, Nancy; Peter of Wallingford’s; and Jeff Timberlake; grandson Andy; and granddaughter Jenny and her husband, Steve.

The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association is a non-profit business trade association composed of independent grocery stores and supermarkets, food and beverage producers and manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, and associated service businesses.

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