Walter E. Swindeman, Sr. planted his first apple trees in the fall of 1935. Walter, being a wholesale grocery salesman, used to notice the poor quality apples in the surrounding area stores. At that thought, he told his wife, Lucile, "When I retire, I'm going to raise good apples as a hobby, then go back and call on my old customers and supply them with quality apples". And this is what gave Walter the incentive to begin Applewood Orchards.
In 1940, Walter retired and became a full-time apple farmer. Of course, his volume was limited but he did have enough to supply some of his old buddies. Before long, he started to handle fruit for a few other growers so he could supply all of his old grocery customers as well as a local retail trade.
His son, Bernie, growing up on the farm was always helping his dad, as his dad had always paid him for the work he performed. By the time Bernie was a young teenager he was buying land and setting out orchards of his own. When he was sixteen, he was delivering apples in a one-ton truck to the Toledo customers.
In 1955, Walter and Lucile said it was time for them to really retire. They moved to Ft. Lauderdale , Florida . At that time, Bernie married Beverly Murphy and they took full control of the family customers. They continued to expand the little farm business. In 1958, they built one of the first Controlled Atmosphere ( C.A. ) rooms in the United States . As the years went on, they kept building more C.A. storage's and taking on outside growers so they could keep up with the demand. By now, the family business had expanded to supplying several major chain stores, and Applewood Orchards incorporated in 1963.
In 1969, Bernie once again was among the first to install an apple waxer. This only came after he built a new packing plant to house the new packing line. In the mid-1970's, Bernie and Beverly 's sons, Steve, Scott and Jim, got involved in running the family business. They too, grew up in the orchards and packing plant helping their folks.
Today, the three sons run the business along with the forth generation, Scott's son Michael and Jim's son Brandt. They now have several outside growers bringing their fruit to be stored, packed, and marketed. Applewood also grows over 450 acres of apples of its own with plans to continue expanding its acreage. Applewood now has 16 C.A. rooms in Deerfield, plus several grower owned and rented rooms. Applewood is now shipping to numerous areas east of the Rocky Mountains and exporting to several countries. Applewood's main goal is quality, service, and consistency.