Farm to fork: Utah Valley’s power picker in the fruit industry

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Scott Smith, owner of Smith Orchards, says he wants to farm ‘til the day he dies. “I want to go with my boots still on,” Scott says. (Photo by Leah Aldous)

Scott Smith, owner of Smith Orchards, says he wants to farm ‘til the day he dies. “I want to go with my boots still on,” Scott says. (Photo by Leah Aldous)

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Foodie Fact

Want another healthy bite? Check out this Q&A with Scott Smith.

Fruit costumers go crazy for…

Our customers go nuts for a variety of cherry called Utah Giant.   

Favorite Local Restaurant 

Mama Chu’s or Magleby’s

Family & Farming

My three children all grew up helping on the farm. As a parent you are trying to channel their energy, and the farm was a good way to do that.

If you could have a restaurant, what would you name it and what would you serve? 

I’d call it Alice’s, after my daughter, and we’d serve my wife’s peach crisp.

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For many of us, considering our food source means trying to remember which grocery store we shopped at last. But for some foodies, knowing how far a piece of fruit traveled to their plate is the key ingredient.

When you sink your teeth into a ripe, juicy peach from Smith Orchards in Provo, there is a good chance it was hanging on the tree the day before.

Owner Scott Smith’s agricultural roots run deep — six generations and counting — and his family tree requires that he doesn’t pick the fruit off the branches until the time is ripe.

“We pick our fruit for a short shelf life,” Scott says.

The Provo resident grows cherries, apricots, pluots (a plum apricot hybrid), peaches, plums, apples, pears and almonds on 49 acres of family land.

“We are the oldest farm in continual family ownership in Utah, according to Gov. Micheal Leavitt and the Utah Farm Bureau,” Scott says.

But Scott didn’t always spend his days picking peaches and working the land.

“My dad actually discouraged me from going into farming,” Scott says. “He knew how hard it can be.”

Scott went to work for Utah Power and Light for 20 years before he came back to the orchard.   

Farming methods have changed dramatically in Scott’s lifetime, and Smith Orchards now uses integrated pest management, which seeks to manage pest damage with the least possible hazard to people and the environment.

“Technology has totally changed the way we farm,” Scott says. “There are now systems that use GPS to tell me the characteristics of each tree with exactness.”

Scott blends technology with the knowledge passed down to him from his father.

“I didn’t study agriculture in college, but I did attend the college of Norm Smith,” Scott says of his father’s mentoring.

Another important key to successful fruit farming is knowing the exact characteristics of the plot of land — and being grounded in an attitude of stewardship.

“I just make the best out of what God gave me,” Scott says.

Along with a little help from the neighborhood kestrel falcons.

“We give them a home by building nesting boxes, and they take care of our rodents,” Scott says.

Fruit from Smith Orchards is found at local farmer’s markets and Harmons in Orem. The farm’s fruit is also used in making local products including Pioneer Valley jams, jellies and syrups. In Heber, Spin Café uses Scott’s award-winning White Peaches to make a worth-the-drive sorbet. Popular Salt Lake City restaurants like Sea Salt and The Paris Bistro also buy from Smith Orchards.

Get Scott Smith’s recipe for Utah Peach Upside Down Cake here

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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