Jon Rulfs was raised in a pair of family farming businesses: Adirondack Farms dairy and Rulfs Orchard. “I grew up with apples and cows,” he recounts, “and when the time came, I chose to go with the cows.” His passion, he had discovered, was with the animals and the land. “I prefer cows to people, but that kind of backfired because now we’ve grown the business and we have 60 employees,” Jon admits with a chuckle. Still, he loves what he does, working closely with business partner, Shane St. Cyr, to keep all systems running smoothly, including a new biodigester. Each day brings joys. “It can be as simple as a calf being born or getting in a crop before it rains,” Jon says.
Happily, the orchard side of things is still going strong, too, shepherded by other family members. Jon’s dad, Robert, now 90, grew the fruit business over the years. It started from just a few bushels of apples sold from backyard trees with honor system payments left in a baby food jar. Jon’s two daughters, Shannon and Amanda, both left home to go to the big city of Manhattan, but each was drawn back to the bustling bakery and café, cider mill, greenhouse plant business, vegetable and sweet corn fields, and pick-your-own fruit operation. “My grandfather has always been so committed to it,” Shannon says. “I couldn’t imagine the business closing. We’re a staple of the community.”