Delicious Orchards Remains a Staple in NJ, and Around the Country
Its bakery, fresh produce and apple cider doughnuts have people coming back year after year.
Even if you are not from Monmouth County, chances are you have heard of Delicious Orchards. And if you have been inside, the smell of the bakery and the taste of the fresh produce have likely lured you back.
Patrons come from all over the world. Chris McDonald, Vice President and owner Bill McDonald’s son, said he remembers a man from Europe who comes to visit his family in New Jersey and builds Delicious Orchards into his vacation every time.
“And some customers travel about an hour weekly,” he said.
Since 1911, Delicious Orchards has been offering fresh produce and baked goods. Well-known for its apple pies and apple cider doughnuts, the market continues to thrive as a staple establishment in the state.
“We have a commitment to quality,” said McDonald. “ We are holding true to what we value.”
Since the beginning, Delicious Orchards has been in the produce business. It began as a wholesale store, run by the Barclay family with an on site apple orchard. But in the 1950’s, the wholesale market declined and the family decided to set up a roadside stand on what is now County Road 537.
“[Caroll] was already involved in the apple business, so it was natural that he was good at the general produce business,” Chris said.
As the retail business grew, so did what the store offered. Baked goods were introduced, and Janet Barclay became known for her homemade apple pies, a recipe Delicious Orchards still uses today.
The building that houses the operation today was bought in the 1960’s. After a few additions to accommodate the expanding business, the grounds became what it is today.
The Barclay’s sold the business to their management team, Tom Gesualdo, Bill McDonald and Frank McMahon in 1977. Today, Bill McDonald’s family runs the business.
“Not much has changed here,” said Chris, who said he remembers being in the store even before he could walk.
Chris said he thinks consistency is what keeps people coming back. The land even has original apple trees, which are used for cooking on the premises.
But the family is not against change to benefit the customer, and have recently introduced a fresh seafood section to the store which offers fresh clams from Sandy Hook, shrimp and Wild Alaskan Salmon, all delivered fresh daily.
“We’re always thinking of better ways to service our customers,” Chris said.
The importance of a family atmosphere is apparent in the store. The whole McDonald family is involved in the operation, from behind the counter at the seafood case to in the back decorating cakes.
“A lot of people don’t even realize who we are out there, it is great,” Chris said. “We are a family business and as a family we care about our customers very much.”
Delicious Orchards offers bakery tours, a working bee hive at the front of the store where customers can observe, a cafe, catering and more. All of its services can be found at the DO website.
Chris said his favorite memories of Delicious Orchards have to do with its famous doughnuts.
“There is nothing like eating a hot apple cider doughnut freshly dipped in cinnamon,” he said.
Delicious Orchards Celebrates 100 years in business this year.