Supporting family farms in Luzerne County

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FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — One of our area’s best known family farms was a busy place to be on this holiday Monday, but it’s been hard for family farms in recent years.

The ones still standing face considerable challenges.

“Load the truck, go to market come back unload prep for the next day…I do everything from pruning to picking to everything in between,” Logan Brace said.

Brace is the ninth generation to run his family’s farm. Brace’s orchard in Franklin Township, Luzerne County has been around for nearly 200 years.

“I’m here with my dad and grandfather and my aunt the whole family just trying to make everybody proud and carry on the next generation,” Brace said.

It’s a big responsibility. Family farms are on decline.

“Two generations ago there was 88 fruit growers in Luzerne County where now there’s only two of us left,” Paul Brace said.

Family farms are vital to our economy and well-being. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture says family farms preserve natural resources and the environment, and maintain rural populations. They also guarantee a different level of quality.

Most apples in the supermarkets originate from commercial farms all over the country and the world. They are sometimes stored for years before making it to the shelves.

“Everything is picked today, sold tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be stored for a period of time and they’re not waxed. They’re just all natural right off the tree right to the customer,” Paul said.

And there’s no preservatives. Brace’s evolved to keep the business going, now offering wagon rides and apple picking. They recently launched “Brace Yourself” hard cider and they’re building a winery in memory of Paul Brace Jr. who died in 2018.

“That’s in memory of my son. We’re going to have a winery on our orchard where you can overlook the pond, the sunflowers…It’s just another thing to keep up with the changing times,” Paul said.

Farmers market season is ending soon but Brace’s Orchard is open year-round.

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