The Perfect Cherry
Farming – It’s In Our DNA
A Growing Tradition
Gebbers Farms has become one of the top apple growers in the northwestern U.S. and the largest provider of cherries in the world for two reasons: quality and freshness. With many thousands of acres of engineered orchard and strategically located high up at the base of Washington state’s Cascade Range, the renowned Gebbers family has practiced the art of freshness for well over a century. Our growing seasons offer cooler days and crisp nights – ideal for growing fragile fruit like apples and cherries. We proudly tend – and are constantly improving – one of the biggest contiguous apple orchards in the world and have become the largest supplier of late season sweet cherries that are simply second to none in quality, freshness and taste.
100% FAMILY OWNED AND MANAGED
Dan Gamble arrived with his backpack at the Harts Pass area in Washington State having walked from Nova Scotia for the beginning of the upper Methow gold rush. Later, he chased the silver boom at Ruby in the Okanogan Valley. He first established a saw mill in the mouth of Cactus Canyon near Brewster in 1894 where he caught and milled drift wood out of the river. He followed this venture with the establishment of the Gamble Hotel and steamboat landing on the banks of the Columbia River.
He planted his first apple orchard in Brewster in 1910. He incorporated Gamble Lumber Company and a second saw mill located on Paradise Hill in 1910, with a large part of the production being wooden apple boxes. He built his first apple packing shed in Brewster in 1918.
Martha Gamble Gebbers was the first baby girl born in the new town of Brewster.
1906 John Gebbers and his family homesteaded at Alta Lake near Pateros Washington, where they farmed potatoes and worked on the Cooper apple orchard.
1927 John Gebbers and Martha Gamble married and established a home in Brewster where John ran the family orchards and cattle ranch while Martha operated the apple packing shed and saw mill.
Dan Gebbers was born the only child of John and Martha Gebbers. The previous photo with Dan Gebbers at 18 months of age was used for the “Danny Boy” apple label.
During the depression, they sold apples on the streets of Los Angeles and continued moving their winter apple supplies throughout Southern California, Las Vegas, and Phoenix until the late 1950’s. Also during this time while other farmers were going bankrupt, Martha Gebbers issued her own scrip to pay her employees and vendors and continued to grow her operations.
Martha Gebbers built a new apple warehouse in Brewster. Martha recruited the first Hispanic work force through a guest worker program to build and operate the new warehouse, as well as help run the cattle ranch and saw mill during the war years.
It was her insight that led to the beginning of a necessary and stable work forced. In 1949 she moved the saw mill from paradise Hill to Brewster where they operated an apple box factory and retail lumber planing mill, establishing several commercial accounts throughout the Midwest and West.
The family planted some of Washington’s first Granny Smith apples trees and is now one of the leading sources of the variety, as well as Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples. While many fruit growers in the Northwest lost their trees to severe winter cold in 1969, the Gebbers’ trees were fortunate to survive, allowing the family to expand their acreage.
Over 20 years ago, Dan Gebbers foresaw the opportunity to expand the cherry marketing season by planting late-ripening cherry varieties at high elevations above Lake Chelan. “High and Dry” is a good combination in the cherry business. Dan’s chosen location was so rain free that the wheat farmer who previously occupied the site went broke hoping for summer precipitation. Dan went to work building a 3 mile pipeline that pumps lake water 1600 vertical feet up the mountain reaching elevations between 2200 feet to 2700 feet. Gebbers Farms now picks cherries in late July and early August and has expanded the highly successful cherry orchard to 300 acres. The family also owns additional cherry orchards near Brewster and Bridgeport.
Following two difficult pricing years, the Gebbers Family acquired full ownership of the Brewster Heights Packing facility where they had delivered much of their fruit to be packed and were shareholders. After taking over full ownership of the company and assuming full responsibility over both the warehouse and farming operations, the family changed the organizations name to Gebbers Farms. This name reflects the family’s long-term commitment to the fruit business.
2003 The Gebbers combined marketing forces with other neighboring shippers to organize the Altafresh marketing agency, which sold fruit for their own company, as well as for MAGI, Gwinn White and Prince, Apple House and Obert Cold Storage.
2004 Chelan Fruit Company joined the marketing venture, and Altafresh was renamed the Chelan Fresh Marketing.
The Passing of John Daniel “Danny” Gebbers In October of 2014, the Gebbers family and the entire farming industry lost a true innovator and friend when Danny Gebbers passed away following complications suffered after a fall he took during the summer of 2014 wild fires. A fascinating man, Danny Gebbers learned (among many skills) about all facets of the orchard business from his father, John and mother, Martha. He lived a life filled to the brim with adventure and hard work. Some of that notable work included planting the first commercial Lapin cherry orchards in Washington and setting a new precedent in late season cherries. This original orchard is still producing today along with high elevation orchards established by Danny on the ideal growing slopes of Lake Chelan. An artist with heavy equipment, the Gebbers patriarch had an uncanny ability to shape the land into something more productive than ever before. He could visualize with flawless foresight the exact best way to plant an orchard taking into account location, drainage and even wind patterns. Danny Gebbers’ legacy of creativity, honesty, integrity, respect for the land and innovative growing techniques lives on in children, grandkids and employees of whom he invested so heavily of his time and talents.
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Gebbers Farms is 100 percent family owned and managed. Most all of the related family members play a role in the day to day operation of the company and the future generations are spending their summers learning the family trades.
Now in its second century, Gebbers Farms is focusing on customer service, productive farming practices, and sharp management to prosper for the next generations to come.