Rod Dressel Jr.
Dressel Farms, located in the scenic Hudson Valley town of New Paltz, N.Y., is a family-owned and operated apple farm run by three generations of Dressels. The legacy started in 1957 when Rod Dressel Sr. graduated from college, married his wife, Ethel, and bought the farm where his father had worked as a farm hand. Now, his son and his grandchildren have joined the farm to carry on the family business.
“I always knew I’d come back to the farm,” says Rod Jr., who returned to New Paltz after graduating from Cornell and is now a partner of Dressel Farms with his farther. “After working on the farm for nine years, the entrepreneur in me decided to try my hand at starting my own business. My wife and I opened Gardiner Orchards and Farm Market in 2000, and it has been running alongside Dressel Farms ever since.”
Rod Jr.’s son, Tim, is also branching out, while still staying true to his apple roots. He recently launched a hard cider and wine business, Kettleborough, on Dressel Farms.
“I love working with my family and in the orchards,” said Tim. “But I knew I wanted to explore an area other than fresh apples. We carved out a piece of the orchard to dedicate to specific hard cider varieties, and last year was our first bottling—a complete success!”
The Dressels grow about 26 varieties of apples on nearly 300 acres of land. They also store and pack all of their apples – about 150,000 bushels a year.
“We do a little bit of everything on our farm,” laughs Rod Jr. “Cider, pick-your-own, retail, wholesale….it keeps us busy, but that’s what makes it so fun.”