A BRIEF HISTORY OF DIEBOLD ORCHARDS
The Diebold family has farmed in this area for over 125 years. In 1922, Joseph F. Diebold planted eight acres of apples. When the trees began to bear, he sold the fruit out of a garage just south of Kelso on Highway 61. In 1945, his son and daughter-in-law, Herman and Ella Diebold planted 19 acres of peaches. Soon they were adding on to the garage, planting more apple trees, raising five boys, and planting a pear orchard in addition to more apples and peaches.
In 1970, Mr. Diebold incorporated his business into what is now called Diebold Orchards, Inc. It was soon evident that the market and packing facilities at Kelso were fast becoming obsolete. Some land was purchased along Interstate 55 at Benton and, in 1977, our present market was opened.
We are now open all year long. Beginning in the spring, we sell many kinds of bedding plants (vegetable plants and annual garden flowers), herb plants, perennials, and a vast array of house plants and cacti. Along with the plants, we sell all kinds of garden seeds and planting accessories. In mid June, we begin picking June apples, and by late June the first peaches and sweet corn are maturing. In July, peaches and sweet corn are in full swing. We also sell quite a number of homegrown vegetables and blackberries in July. August is another peach month with pears and summer apple varieties beginning to ripen. Apple season begins in earnest in September. We usually press our first apple cider of the season then and fall really gets a shot in the arm from the harvest of our Indian corn, gourds, fall squash, and the first of the pumpkins. October is our most colorful month with our beautiful field of chrysanthemums. It is also our busiest apple and cider month. And don't forget the pumpkins. November is Fuji apple month. If you haven't tried our Fuji apple, you are missing out on a wonderful taste treat. Starting in November and throughout the winter, our customers bring pecans to our market to have them custom cracked. In anticipation of the holidays, our first nuts and citrus fruits arrive from the south. The entire month of December centers around Christmas with poinsettias and custom made fruit baskets as a specialty. In January, February, and the first part of March, we begin bagging vegetable seeds for retail sale. We also receive Burpee and Ferry Morse seeds at that time. We have available in these winter months a variety of citrus and other produce items. The circle begins once again during this time with the sowing of seeds for our bedding plant business in the spring.
Our market is built around the products that we grow and produce ourselves and we are proud of that fact. We want you to know that we grow many of these products. I don't think there is any other way to achieve our high standards of quality without producing the products ourselves. If something is designated as homegrown, we grew it or it was locally produced. Obviously we don't grow everything, but we want you to be aware of what we do grow.
Here is an introduction to the people operating Diebold Orchards.
Joseph A. Diebold takes care of the Kelso end of our operation where the majority of our orchards are located. Some of the primary responsibilities involved there are taking care of the orchards including pruning, spraying, fertilizing, and harvesting programs. Joe and his wife Barbara, have three daughters-Laura, Jody, and Susan.
David Diebold takes care of the market end of our company here at Benton. Among his responsibilities are managing the market and greenhouse production, taking care of fruit packing, and wholesale sales and bookkeeping. David and his wife Paula have three children-Jessica, Brittney,and Colton. They live west of Kelso by the orchard.