Masker tradition began more than 100 years ago in 1913, when Ora J. Masker
and his wife Rena purchased close to 200 acres of farmland
in the beautiful Warwick Valley. It was at this time that
Ora and his wife Rena dedicated their lives to farming and
discovered that the soil conditions and climate were perfect
for apple trees. As time passed, Ora became a successful commercial
apple farmer, harvesting thousands of bushels of apples each
season. After his picking crew departed the farm following
the harvest, Ora opened up the farm to local residents to
take the remaining apples that had fallen from the trees.
Word spread fast, and each season more and more folks came
to the orchard to pick the drops. Thus the "pick-it-yourself"
orchard was born.
farmed Masker Orchard, as it came to be known, well into his
90's. He passed away in 1969, having become a successful farmer
nurturing more than 20,000 apple trees of 14 varieties on
the land he loved.
following Ora's death, his lovely wife Rena sold the orchard
to George Vurno and Victor Ludmerer, knowing that the tradition
and legacy that Ora work so hard to create would continue
under the guidance of these two friends. Both native New Yorkers,
George and Victor were now settled in the beautiful and peaceful
countryside of the Warwick Valley. During the first two years,
George and Victor, known as Apple George and Apple Jack, continued
the commercial operation and the tradition of opening the
gates to the orchard for pick-it-yourself apple picking. In
1972, Masker Orchard opened solely as a "Pick-It-Yourself"orchard,
with the belief that families would drive to the picturesque
Warwick Valley to enjoy a day in the country picking their
favorite apples. The response was tremendous and each year
more and more visitors continue to visit Masker Orchard to
drive right up to the trees and pick apples that had once
been hand planted by Ora himself.
tradition continues today, as Masker Orchards is still one
of the only orchards where you can drive right up to the tree
to enjoy an idyllic day apple picking with your family and
friends. Generations of visitors continue to flock to Ora's
orchard each season, where you can still find the tree planted
back in 1913. This unique family tradition continues to make
memories that last a lifetime.
Apple Jack and Apple George - partners of Masker Orchards for more than 40 years
Masker, founder of Masker Orchards