Maryhill Premium Brand Fruit – tree-ripened apricots, peaches and nectarines – is grown and produced by Gunkel Orchards, a third-generation farm established in the early 1900s overlooking the Columbia River in Goldendale, WA.
Founded in 1936 by Daniel Gunkel, grandsons Dan and Ron now operate the family orchard. They grew up watching and helping their dad grow soft fruit. Gunkel Orchards sets itself apart from other producers with their product quality – they grow and ship the most mature fruit possible, ensuring they know exactly what their customer will get. And that fruit is all hand-picked.
The fruit is placed into small buckets when picked, instead of large bins. That allows the fruit to mature to peak sugar levels. And the fruit isn’t picked unless its ready to be; instead of gathering all the fruit from a tree at once, pickers will only pick the fruit that is perfectly ripe, returning for the rest later. It is not uncommon for pickers to return to the same tree three or four times. Even if the difference in ripening is only a few days, it is worth it to the Gunkels to ensure their customers are receiving the most flavorful fruit possible.
Maryhill Brand Premium Fruit is named after the area along the Columbia River in which they are carefully grown. With an average annual rainfall of only eight inches, they operate in an ideal climate for amazing peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots and wine grapes.
While you can find their fruits in our stores, you can also visit the orchards’ fruit stand 8 am- 6 pm daily at 89 Maryhill Highway, Goldendale. You can find their hand-picked fruit from the surrounding orchards there, too.
They grow five kinds of cherries, picked in June: Brooks, Chelan, Bing, Rainier and Royal Brooks. July, August and September are taken up with peaches – they grow 17 kinds! All the peaches grown by the Gunkels must pass their rigorous standards, “just a highly colored peach is not going to cut it with our program if it doesn’t eat well, store well, and deliver well. It must be good in size, good in color, and high in eating quality and flavor.” By growing so many different varieties, it is possible for Gunkel Orchards to provide us with their delicious peaches all summer long.