East Longmeadow residents Lisa and Andrew Christiansen, with their children Eddie and June, make some new friends at The Apple Place on Somers Road, which recently opened for the season under new ownership.
Reminder Publishing photo by Bill Zito

EAST LONGMEADOW — A well known local farm stand will stay true to tradition after opening this month under new ownership, but with the former owners sticking close by to help out.

The Apple Place, a family run farm, orchard, fruit stand, creamery and bakery will also maintain the institution of family in its new operation after being purchased by brothers Anthony and Dominic Maloni, who already own Wilbraham properties Rice Fruit Farm, Green Acres Fruit Farm and land that was once part of the Bennett Turkey Farm.

The Malonis take over The Apple Place from Cynthia and Neal Normandin. It was Cynthia’s father, Wallace McNeish, who started the business in the 1970s with trees relocated from the family orchard in Springfield. The Somers Road property has been farmed since the early 1800s.

Reminder Publishing photo by Bill Zito

When the Normandins were looking to sell The Apple Place, they received several offers, but the Maloni family became part of cooperative agreement that will have the Normandins sticking close by for a time to serve as advisors and consultants not only for the newly sold business but to add some of their expertise to the Malonis’ other ventures.

Anthony Maloni said there already was an overlap and similarities to their current undertakings, so the deal made sense.

“Who better to run it than us?” he said, noting that Cynthia will continue to bake and assist in running the operation which Anthony said was part of the package and very appealing to the brothers, who said they will offer a fresh set of eyes but keep things as they are.

“It’s not a fixer-upper, she has done a great job of building the business up and the place is going to stay essentially the same,” he said. “Cyndi and Neal both have a pretty extensive knowledge of what it takes to maintain the orchard.”

The Malonis are also kept quite busy running the Wilbraham ventures and they hope to incorporate Cynthia and Neal’s expertise to aid in the growth on those properties, particularly the Green Acres Fruit Farm which was bought last year.

“We put in some long days” but Anthony Maloni said it’s very rewarding. “Farming is always a challenge whether it’s weather and now you’re combining it with some food and bakery items,” he said. “But we’ve definitely had some success and we enjoy what we do.”

What’s been there in the past will continue at The Apple Place, from the four-dozen varieties of apples to the favorited bakery offerings and coffees. The annual corn maze will also return as have the chickens, goats, and the addition of regular appearances by local artists and musicians.

“There’s no other place like it in East Longmeadow,” said town resident Lisa Christiansen. She and her husband Andrew are regulars at the farm, bringing their two children, Eddie and June to walk around, look at the animals and play on the attractions.

“We come here almost weekly,” Christiansen said, pointing to Eddie, “I have pictures of him here when he was 1 and he’s 6 1/2 now.”

The couple said they enjoy what The Apple Place has to offer and they’re pleased a local business is going to stay local and familiar. And there is of course, the coffee and the bakery.

“We come here during the holidays and get pies,” Christiansen said. “The baked goods are amazing.”

More information on what’s happening at The Apple Place can be found at theappleplace.net.

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