In 1960 Ed and Julia Malkowski began selling farm fresh fruits and vegetables at the corner of US 31 and Free Soil Road. The Orchard Market fruit stand was a small structure. During those early years, a snow fence was rolled across the front the market at night for security.
By 1966, the business, originally shared with a partner, was fully owned by Ed, Julia and sons Gerald, Len, and Dan. At that time crops being raised were apples, cherries, peaches, strawberries, and potatoes. To make a more complete line of produce, biweekly trips were made to Bay City and Grand Rapids produce markets.
By 1970, Ed retired and son Bob entered the partnership. Gerald and Len took over the farming responsibilities while Dan and Bob maintained the market operations. Through the years, several additions have been made to the original market building. In 1978, the restaurant (1978-2013) and bakery were added; and in 1986 came the addition of Orchard Market in Ludington.
The farm, also, has evolved over the years. We continue to grow a wide variety of produce for the markets and concentrate on items like Strawberries and our locally famous “Extra Sweet” Sweet Corn, early to late season Peaches and a wide variety of early to late season Apples.
Ed and Julia worked very hard on the farm and in raising their seven children. They instilled in their family a strong Christian faith and the importance of hard work. Then and now the Malkowskis, value their close family ties. Sons Ed, Jr. and David found their life’s work in education; while daughter Mary Helen managed Orchard Market’s Family Restaurant and Bakery until her retirement.
Gerald, Len, Dan and Bob have also each retired from the business. Continuing the family tradition-ownership today has been passed to Bob’s son-in-law Bill Sturgeon managing the two farm markets and son Kyle Malkowski taking the reigns managing Orchard Market’s 250 acre farm. Bob is never too far away-watching over day to day operations. Len, Dan and Gerald continue to offer their expertise and are never more than a phone call away!