Apple Ridge Farm is located in Saylorsburg, PA. It is owned by Brian Bruno and run by a group of hard-working people who are dedicated to producing the best food possible in the most sustainable way possible.
The farm originally started out as an 80+ acre farm founded in the 1860’s by the Getz family. It was purchased by the Bruno family in the early ‘70’s. For 30 years our family raised sheep, horses, fruit trees, and kept a large garden. Growing up on the farm was a great experience but as a kid it felt like a lot of work compared to the other kids I knew. I honestly had no plans to be a farmer. What I really wanted to do was be an environmental scientist and help save the planet. I went to Penn State majoring in Environmental Resource Management which to my surprise had a lot of focus on agriculture.
Turns out many farms are sources of chemical pollutants, manure runoff, and soil erosion. It got me thinking about my family’s little farm. I had no idea agriculture had all these environmental problems, because our farm didn’t. As my parents started talking about retiring and selling the farm I decided to give it a shot the summer before my senior year with a large garden and a roadside stand in the driveway. It was a ton of work and took up all my free time that summer but I was hooked.
The more I learned about modern agriculture and our corrupt food system the more interested I became in trying to change it. After graduating in 2004 I moved back to the farm and began working it in my free time. We’ve grown each year since and have added a greenhouse, hydroponics, a certified kitchen, and a wood-fired brick oven sourdough bakery. In 2016 we partnered with the ShawneeCraft brewing company and opened Scratch, a wood-fired brick oven pizza pub in the Easton Public Market.
The future is full of challenges. Climate change, labor, politics, and diet trends. All we can do is to keep trying to produce the best food we possibly can with what we have to work with.
Here at Apple Ridge, our mission is to produce healthy, nutrient-dense food in a sustainable manner. We produce food with a purpose and we feel as good about producing it as our customers feel about eating it.
In the barn, that means raising all of our animals on pasture with access to non-gmo feed, grass, and bugs. In the fields, it means producing nutrient-dense, chemical-free vegetables by feeding the soil natural inputs and minimizing tillage. In our stone-oven bakery, it means making bread the way bread used to be made, based on three simple ingredients: flour, water, and salt. We start with regionally-grown flour that’s organic, unbleached, and unbrominated flour. Instead of using commercial yeast we use an all-natural sourdough starter to help make our bread easily digestible again. Our baking process takes much longer than your average modern-day bakery but the end result is a product we can be proud of and that people can eat and feel good about. In fact some of our baked goods and most of our value-added products feature ingredients grown right here on the farm. As part of our commitment to local sustainability, we fuel our wood-fired oven with slab wood, a waste product from a local sawmill.
As part of our commitment to sustainability we also strive to create economic and environmental sustainability within our community by creating jobs and utilizing waste products (leaves, manure, vegetable scraps, and slab wood) as inputs into our operation.