Hometown Business Connection: Welsh Heritage Farms
Welsh Heritage Farms near Lake Crystal just completed its 36th season of growing apples.
Pam Harbo says, “My mother, she literally planted the seed in Larry’s head and we laughed about the idea but she really wanted us home back to this area and he thought about it and the rest is history.”
Two school teachers, Larry and Pam Harbo, packed up their three children and moved to the family farm near Lake Crystal. It started out quite simple.
Larry says, “It was an open lean-to shed where I sold apples, more or less in the back of my pickup.”
Over time the operation has grown into a destination in Southern Minnesota. It now includes not only retail apple sales, but a bakery, hard cider, just lots of new goodies and surprises each year.
Tim says, “You really never know what to do next, you are looking into the future a little bit.”
For many years, Larry and Pam worked other jobs while growing the business. About ten years ago they began seeing a boom and now they are growing at a rate of about 20-percent a year despite the ups and downs in both the agriculture and retail industries.
Larry says, “The key is you have to stay with it, be persistent.”
Their family has also grown, Tim’s wife Libby is an integral part of the operation.
Libby says, “Tim and I live this. This is what we do on a daily basis and we are very passionate about it.”
That passion led to a new venture for the family, Cheese & Pie Mongers opened in St. Peter in 2014.
Libby says, “The idea was so that we could stay open year round and expand our pie and cheese selection. So it’s been a wonderful opportunity for us to grow the business and take it in a new direction.”
This time of year the Harbors and their employees are busy peeling apples, Libby says they’ll sell one thousand pies this holiday season.