In 1873, Allan Reid, Billy Reid’s great grandfather, left a little village Scotland. Upon arriving in America, he kept books for his two brother’s tobacco industry. Once he settled in Kentucky, Allan fell in love with peaches and apples. The fruits weren’t native to Scotland and were only received when shipped from Spain. The lengthy journey did nothing for the quality of the fruit which couldn’t compare to that grown in Kentucky. Allan was also interested in promoting the place he now called home, Daviess County, Kentucky. He was instrumental, in the 1880’s, in developing road construction and improving roads serving the Owensboro-Daviess County area.
From the beginning, the orchard was an enterprise. Through his constant research Allan was a pioneer in developing new technology for the fruit and vegetables industry specifically in pruning and production.
The farm was passed down to his son, Robert Reid Sr. and the name was changed to Robert Reid and Sons Orchard, when his sons Robert Jr. and John joined the business. Sharing the same sense of community as his father, Robert Reid Sr., served 2 terms as a Kentucky State Representative.
In 1978, Robert Reid Jr. left the business and John’s son, Billy joined his father to run the business that is now known as Reid’s Orchard. Both men served their community Robert Jr. as a Representative on the Daviess County School Board and John was a key figure in starting the first water district in Daviess County.
Progress and technology are a historical tradition in Reid’s Orchard family tree. In the 140+ years of its operation, tons of fruit and gallons upon gallons of cider have been consumed by thousands of people from Owensboro and far away.
Billy Reid, present owner and grower, knew early on exactly what he wanted to learn when he took horticulture courses in college. His focused interest continued the tradition of new technology into the fourth generation. Billy also is a community supporter, he has served as a Board Member to the Green River Electric Corporation and as a member of the Daviess County 4-H Council.
Some of the programs Reid’s Orchard is now participating in include, the University of Kentucky’s first Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program for apples was established at Reid’s Orchard, this technology is still used today. Reid’s Orchard was one of the first in the state of KY to use high density apple production where the trees will produce 800-1000 bushels of apples per acre.
Make no mistake the 5th generation of Reid’s is active in the day-to-day operations and coming up with new ideas of their own. Valerie handles the events – birthday parties, weddings & receptions, school tours and much more, Brad helps his Dad with pruning, harvesting and loves to fly his drone over the orchard, creating family memories, Katie manages the Apple House – seeing it’s stocked and running smoothly, she also takes care of the greenhouses – growing everything from spring flowers to tomatoes.
Today Reid’s Orchard produces strawberries, apples, peaches, blackberries, pears, cherries, and all types of vegetables for their farm market. In 1986 the family initiated a gathering for the community; the “Apple Festival”, which today hosts 25,000 people in the 3rd weekend in Oct. The “Apple Festival” has been named as one of the Top 10 Festival in KY and one of the Top 20 Festivals in the southwestern states in the month of October.
The Reid family wants to continue to diversify, to grow and to serve the community but most especially to pass the traditions on to the 6th generation.