Chelan Fresh is proud to represent the growers of Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties in Washington State. Check in with our blog – To The Core - to find out what’s happening in the orchards that produce some of Washington’s Finest Mountain Grown Fruit.
Many of the orchards in our valley are a family affair, with everyone in the family having a key role in the operations. This month we get to know Marsha Gores of Gores Orchards Inc., which she owns with her husband Mark Gores.
Chelan Fresh: Happy Holidays Marsha. And thank you for taking the time to speak to us while you are visiting family down in warm Arizona!
Marsha Gores: We are enjoying the balmy 60 degrees, last we hard it was 8 degrees in Chelan.
CF: Yes, it is certainly 60 degrees here! So Marsha, please start by telling us a bit about your orchard and what kind of fruit you grow?
MG: We have roughly 50 acres growing Galas, Fujis, Jazz and Pacific Rose. Mark does all the orchard work, he is constantly cutting things down and replanting, grafting, and so on. I would say we have about 40 acres in production at the moment.
CF: And what is your role in the business?
MG: I do all the book work, the accounts payables and get the information ready for the accountant for tax season. I have a degree in accounting from Central and I also work as a tax accountant and bookkeeper at LaPorte Financial here in Chelan. I have worked out in the orchard in the past but not that often since I started working full time 13 years ago.
CF: How do you see your role in your business today?
MG: Aside from keeping all the legalities in order, I am also a sounding board for Mark, two brains are often better than one when it comes to new ideas. My work also keeps Mark from having to come in and sit down at a desk.
CF: Are there any legal aspects of running an orchard that are more challenging for you?
MG: From a bookkeeping perspective the labor laws are always changing and getting more complicated, which makes it very challenging to keep up with. And, in some respect it makes it more expensive to operate the business as well. Lucky I am a book keeper, I don’t know what people do who don’t have that kind of experience!
CF: Yes, I am sure it can get expensive for small operations to hire outside of the family for bookkeeping work. What does the future hold for Gore Orchards, any expansions or downsizing planned?
MG: No plans for expansion but Mark is always changing to keeping our varieties current so the orchard will remain sellable in the future when we are ready to retire.
I always think “you have to spend money to make money”, this business is basically a gambling game and we do our best to keep up with the trends.
CF: Do you have other family members involved in the orchard at all?
MG: We have two children, they are grown now but they were active in the orchard when they were young. The orchard was right above our home so the kids were always outside and running around in the orchard. When they became teenagers there were able to do more work to help out. But both kids are living outside of Chelan now.
CF: On a lighter note, do you enjoy baking or cooking with apples on your off time?
MG: I do have a couple of recipes that are really good like apple cake, and of course apples pies. I also love to dry apples, the kids love them sprinkled with cinnamon.
CF: Thank you for your time Marsha, and enjoy the rest of your visit with family, have a Happy New Year!
MG: Thank you, Happy New Year to you too!