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Lewiston family reopens former popular apple orchard

The Barker-Lavorgna family knew nothing about running an apple orchard but got to work to open Honey Hill Orchard in Lewiston for the season

LEWISTON, Maine — The Barker-Lavorgna family will be the first to tell you they knew nothing about running an apple orchard.

"I don't even know the difference between apples. They all look the same to me," Jennifer Barker said.

Their son Sabin called in May of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and told them he was going to buy Benoit's Orchard in Lewiston. They were shocked.

"I said, 'Wait a minute. Are you sure?'" Jennifer said.

Sabin, who was 24-years-old at the time and who is currently in the U.S. Navy, spent a lot of time at Benoit's when he was growing up.

"Benoit's was a staple for forever. It was closed down. Even just driving by it was kind of sad to see that it wasn't an option anymore," Holly Lavorgna, Sabin's sister, said.

"What he didn't know is no one had run it for five years. When we got here, after he signed last fall, the trees had brambles growing up inside them. They all looked like they were dead," Barker said.

The orchard, now called Honey Hills Orchard, is open for the season, but the family put in some serious work to get it up and running. 

"My husband and I and Holly started pulling out the brambles," Jennifer said.

"There's some free classes online. We learned a lot with that and how to take care of everything," Holly said.

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