We are (Denver) Dale and Pat Martin and this is how Denver Dan’s Apple Patch came to be...
Dale moved to El Dorado County with his family after World War II. After graduating from El Dorado High School, Dale joined the Navy and served in Korea. While he was away, Dale’s folks purchased the property where the house now stands. By the time he returned home in 1955, the house had been built and the first couple of acres of the orchard had been planted with Red Delicious. In 1961, while working in San Francisco, Dale met a visiting nurse from Connecticut. After a whirlwind courtship Dale and Pat were married. As a wedding present, Dale’s folks gave them an acre of land across the pond from their house. Pat quickly found herself going from being a city girl from the Connecticut shore to being a farm wife in what was then a very rural part of northern California. A year later Dale and Pat purchased the bulk of the land that comprises the current orchard. Dale’s folks lived here at that time. There were about two acres of Red Delicious apple trees already planted, and the remainder of the property consisted of stumps, brush, and timber. With the help of his folks, Dale cleared the property and dug trenches by hand to install irrigation sprinklers, so they could turn the rest of the property into orchard as well. In 1962, their daughter was born, and they began building their home. Shortly thereafter, in 1963, their middle son was born. The kids spent much of their time nestled in apple boxes or bins under an apple tree at that time while Dale and Pat worked! Dale (Denver Dan) was working for Western Electric at that time and traveled quite a bit. His folks continued to help them out as they tried to figure out how to sell apples. Up until then, their focus had been on growing apples, and Dale was discovering that selling them was not an easy task! He delivered apples to grocery stores in Stockton and Sacramento, to peddlers in fruit stands, and to fellow employees at work. Dale’s first name is really “Denver”. At work, his badge read “Denver D. Martin”, so he was laughingly called “Denver Dan the Apple Man” and the name stuck! Thus Denver Dan’s Apple Patch was born!
Gradually we realized that the cost of delivering apples was increasing but their price had not. We concentrated on trying to roadside as much as possible. In 1964, our youngest son arrived, and the Apple Hill® Growers Association was formed. We joined the Association as ranch #14 and put our efforts into roadside sales, advertising, and “Pick your Own”. Our families helped. The kids changed irrigation pipes, both Moms baked, both Dads helped in the orchard and on our house. Our daughter offered pony rides to earn a saddle.
Our products and offerings have changed over the years as we try to keep up with your changing needs, but years later, many of our customers are still coming to visit, and their children and grandchildren are joining them!
It’s great fun to see you visit each year and see the changes that have occurred. We look forward to seeing you soon!!