Gregory Hoyt Heller, born March 3, 1969; is the 6th generation on the family farm and 3rd generation in growing fruit. Greg began operating a forklift at the young age of 9. By age 12, he was spraying trees for his dad on a Massey Ferguson tractor. When he was 15, he would dream of buying the Strausser property on Cherry Road (Nescopeck Twp.) to grow another orchard. At the age of 16, he started making cider, pruning trees, and planting trees by hand. By the age of 20, he built a pole shed, repainted the old barn several times, replaced the cider press, installed drip irrigation, installed a restroom and an office, planted a pear orchard, and planted/re-planted different varieties of apples. By the age of 35, among countless jobs, Greg planted a peach orchard and built a packing house. He and his wife, Andrea, work as a team to keep the business running successfully. At age 32, Greg obtained that Strausser property he always dreamed of farming and successfully grows fruit on the land.
“I have made a commitment to not let my fore-fathers down because I’m sure Isaac, Wesley, Absalom, and Hoyt are all watching over me.”
Ruth Boran Heller, born May 24, 1937, died June 30, 2019; was the friendly face that customers adored for more than forty years. Ruth was a dedicated, hard-working woman who raised four children (Janet, Nancy, Virginia, and Greg). She would manage the retail store daily from 9 to 5, feed her family at 6:00 pm, then grade apples with her husband Quentin from 7:00 pm to 9:00 or 10:00 pm!
Quentin Heller, born May 27, 1928, died December 24, 2021; was the fifth generation on the family farm and second generation in growing fruit. He was a 1946 graduate of Nescopeck High School, and a 1950 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College (history major). In 1954, he traveled to England to visit a college friend. There he explored different orchards and learned about dwarf apple trees. He toured the East Malling Research Station http://www.emr.ac.uk/about-us/. At this time, dwarf trees could not be obtained in the United States, they were only available in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. When Quentin got back home from his travel abroad, he wrote a letter to Mr. Prescott, a researcher, in hopes of getting a dwarf tree root stock. He started to educate himself on dwarf tree root stock and reached out to Penn State Extension Pomologist, Marshall Ritter, in 1954. Quentin got a root stock (just a shoop) that he harvested additional root stock from and gave it to Penn State Extension.
Quentin started with an orchard of approximately 40 trees per acre and ended his plantings at approximately 300 trees per acre.
Hoyt Heller was the first generation of Hellers to grow fruit. He started Heller Orchards in 1919 after finishing his service in the military. He started his production at approximately 40 trees per acre.
Pete, Born March 15, 2010; welcomed customers since he was a pup. He gave paw for treats and would have kissed you to death if you let him. His favorite apple was McIntosh but he was not too fond of cherries, peaches or pears. He did however like a donut peach from time to time.