Red Apple Farm

Red Apple Farm provide an authentic, New England, family farm experience year-round

When Al Rose speaks about Red Apple Farm it is easy to see his passion for his business, his family, his apples, his home and his life.  Rose’s enthusiasm is infectious and is easily translated to all aspects of Red Apple Farm’s operation.

Founded in 1912, Rose has carried on the multi-generational farm and converted it into one of North Central Massachusett’s best-known businesses and tourism attractions.  With more than 100 full and part-time employees, Red Apple has expanded from its family farm and farm store in Phillipston to Wachusett Mountain – where it operates the unique Bullock Lodge Cider House and The Core in the Main Base Lodge.  If that wasn’t enough, Rose has taken Red Apple Farm to Boston – where is operates the largest storefront in the popular Boston Public Market.

Rose’s business philosophy is simple.  “We provide an authentic, New England, family farm experience year-round,” he said when asked what separates Red Apple Farm from its competition.  It’s that authentic New England experience that Rose feels is most special about doing business in North Central Massachusetts.

“It reflects who and what we are and closely aligned to our mission,” he said.  “North Central Massachusetts is New England at its core, from the people who live and work here, to the communities and natural and historical landscapes.”

Rose has also perfected the art of collaboration, teaming with businesses like the Gardner Ale House and Wachusett Mountain Ski Area to expand his business.  With Gardner Ale House, he created his Brew Barn and Cidery at the Farm and started brewing his own hard cider.  With Wachusett Mountain, he helped reopen the historical Bullock Lodge where he serves fresh cider donuts and hot cider to hundreds of skiers and snowboarders each winter.

It’s that local collaboration which Rose credits in helping his business and others work through the COVID pandemic the past couple years.

“Intrinsically people value local and keeping it local,” he said. “We are fortunate to be in area that is considered by many folks, whether they live in Central Mass or in Boston, to be there backyard! Those are connections that seemed to strengthen during the pandemic and moments of economic uncertainty.”

Rose says his customers’ “ever-changing needs and wants” are Red Apple Farm’s strongest influence.  He has learned how to adapt along the way, noting that “particularly the intangible needs (like safety and being grounded during Covid)” were so important.

Rose looks at his employees as part of his family.  In describing Red Apple’s workplace culture, he said “we call our employees ‘farm-ily!”  He looks for qualities in his employees that share his same business values.

“We look for employees who focus on adding value, cultivate authenticity, and celebrate community,” he said.  Rose added that Red Apple Farm is “100% in” on supporting the community.  “It’s who we are,” he proudly noted.

One look at Red Apple Farm’s website clearly shows the farm’s great heritage, history and authenticity:

“Red Apple Farm is a fourth-generation family farm,” the website proudly claims. “Red Apple Farm is truly a place to connect the past and today!  Our farmhouse and barn were built in the mid-1700’s. The encompassing stonewalls and stately maple trees represent the icons of days gone by and a labor of love that is still found today in the farm’s breath-taking atmosphere and true sense-of-place.”

“Situated right off scenic Route 2 in the heart of North Central Massachusetts, the orchard boasts views of Wachusett Mountain and sprawling fields outlined by untouched forests. Every year our fruit is grown using Integrated Pest Management with conscious thought to people and the environment. Visit the farm, pick your own fruit, stop in to the Country Store for locally produced specialty foods, and don’t leave without trying our famous cider donuts and homemade fudge.”

Rose combines several factors to successfully promote Red Apple Farm.

“Employee training, making decisions that build and enhance our brand, customary loyalty program and communication, and paid advertisement (i.e. social media, newspaper, radio, etc),” he said.  With all that, Rose notes “word of mouth by a raving customer!” is by far the most successful method of promotion.