Gardener’s Orchard and Bakery
Owners: The Cornelius Gradinariu family
Location: Brighton, Mo.
History: Gardener’s Orchard and Bakery, located a half mile off Highway 13 in Brighton, Mo., is a family-operated business at its finest. Owned and operated by the Gradinariu (Romanian for gardener) family since 2013, this orchard was formerly named Plaster’s Orchard by the previous owner. After Cornelius Gradinariu, (pictured in the center with two of his sons) his wife and his 10 children purchased the property and its general store/storage facility, they changed the name to Gardener’s Orchard and set to work maintaining the current fruit trees, planting new additions, and renovating the on-site store.
Today, Gardener’s boasts more 600 fruit trees, a roadside produce stand, a general store, a certified cider making room, a packing facility and a bakery that opened in August 2016.
Products and Services: Gardener’s grows and sells peaches, nectarines and apples. The fruit is marketed through their store, at their local farmers market, local school districts and a you-pick service. The fruit is also utilized in cider, slushes and baked goods. At their roadside produce stand, the family sells their fruit and additional produce, such as tomatoes and melons, that they supplement from the bootheel area and other local farmers. Inside the store, customers can find cider, jams, sorghum, honey, grains and other dry good, and fresh bakery items. The bakery end of Gardener’s Orchard and Bakery offers breads, pies, cobbler, Danish and other delicacies. Visitors to the orchard are amazed at everything Gardener’s offers, and many folks become repeat customers. “We like to make the customer happy,” Cornelius said.
Future Plans: “We want to expand,” Cornelius said. The family has plans to build a greenhouse to grow more produce for their roadside stand on-site. Another venture Gardener’s is expanding into is berries – Cornelius explained that they have 200 blueberry plants that they hope to introduce into the you-pick program next year, and following that will be blackberries.