J & J Orchards

SPARTA, MICHIGAN

History

J & J Orchards was founded in 1976 by the Morse family, and over the last three decades they’ve built up a strong family business.

Current farm manager, Josh Morse, took over the family business in 2003, and he’s worked tirelessly to expand the farm and maintain relationships with other growers in the community.  The Morses have worked with Riveridge since the orchards’ inception, originally in a sales relationship.  More recently, they’ve engaged Riveridge to pack their fruit.

Growth

At its inception, J & J Orchards had only 50 acres, but over the last thirty years they’ve expanded to over 225 acres.  On average, the farm produces 6,000 boxes of high-quality apples each year.  Josh is confident that the growth will continue.  “When my dad built this place, he started with nothing and came up from nothing,” he says. “It’s something you don’t see much anymore, and I am honored to keep it going.”

Other members of the Morse family stay closely involved in the business. Josh’s mother, Julie Morse, has taken care of accounting for the orchards for years.  His father was also heavily involved right up to his passing in 2009.

Sustainability

In addition to promoting growth, Josh keeps a close eye on advances in technology to make J & J Orchards an environmentally friendly enterprise.  GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) audits and a close watch on industry innovations ensure that he is on top of the newest advancements and technologies.  Josh conducts routine inspections on crews and their documentation to optimize the orchard’s operations.

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Future

J & J Orchards is always working to expand, and the orchard is currently building plans to buy more farms in the surrounding area.  Josh is glad for the opportunity to grow the business.  “Every day is a different challenge around here,” he says, “but I love it.  I get to work outside all the time—there’s honestly nothing I’d rather be doing.”