Fred Openshaw Farms story
Here at Fred Openshaw Farms we love our farming heritage! We are a family farm spanning across seven generations.
Benjamin Johnson, who helped settle the Santaquin area, was the first generation to farm. He was a horticulturist who moved his family here in 1850-1851. He planted a garden where he sewed some apple seeds he had brought with him across the plains. When it appeared that the apple trees weren’t growing, Benjamin assumed they were dead so he allowed a women to use the plot of ground for her garden. While she was weeding one day Benjamin noticed the ground full of tiny apple trees. He implored her to let them grow but to his dismay she hoed up every last one of them.
After the Martin Handcart Company came into Salt Lake City, Samuel Openshaw was asked to settle in Santaquin. Samuel Openshaw married one of Benjamin Johnson’s daughters, Esther Melita Johnson. Samuel learned to farm while working with his father-in-law Benjamin Johnson.
Samuel and Esther had a son, Eli Openshaw. Eli talked of how he learned farming/horticulture as he worked along side his father, Samuel Openshaw and his grandfather, Benjamin Johnson. Benjamin taught Eli how to care for trees and graft them to get different fruit varieties he liked. When Eli became a medical doctor late in life he came back to Santaquin to practice medicine. He built his office right off his home on Center Street. He decided to buy a piece of ground near the mouth of Santaquin Canyon and plant trees there so that people who felt that they could not afford a Doctor’s visit would have a way to work off the debt they owed for medical services.
Eli Openshaw’s son, Fred Openshaw (Grandpa Fred) and his wife Angie Vilsmyer Openshaw chose to buy the orchard property and the old house in Santaquin where the doctor’s office had been located. Grandpa Fred and Angie Openshaw had a son Fred H.C. Openshaw. Grandpa Fred, Angie and their son Fred H.C. farmed the ground and harvested the fruit from the orchard trees. Grandpa Fred started a fruit stand in front of his house on Center Street where he would sell some of the fruit from the orchard they would harvest every year. Grandpa Fred loved sharing stores with his customers. He knew his trees so well that all the customer would need to do was tell him they wanted an apple with a certain taste and he could help the customer get just the right apple. “Grandpa Fred’s Fabulous Fruit” logo that is on all of our packaging as well as is the logo at the top of this page is a depiction of the memory of Grandpa Fred.
Fred H.C. Openshaw fondly remembers his grandpa Eli as he tells of the nights he would go with his grandpa up to the canyon orchard to take the water turn and pick fruit to sell. Fred H.C. would take the crop and sell the boxes of fruit to surrounding communities throughout Arizona and Utah. Fred H. C. dated and later married Patricia Tanner. When they were dating Patricia told him how much she loved fresh green apples. Fred told Patricia that he knew of an orchard that grew the best tasting green apples, but that they would have to sneak in very quietly to pick some because the farmer was a real ornery old guy. As it turns out, the orchard he took her to was owned by his family and he and his father were the ornery old farmers! Patricia was incredibly embarrassed but Fred was amused.
Fred and Patricia Openshaw had six children who all have memories of growing up on the family farm. Their second child, Fred C. Openshaw continued the generations of Fred Openshaw’s with a passion for farming. Fred C. grew up farming alongside his father, Fred H.C. and his grandfather, Grandpa Fred. He soon became “Grandpa Freds little sidekick "Cowboy”. Fred C. and Grandpa Fred would spend time watering and tending the orchard, going to get hari-cuts and picking Grandma Angie up from work. Fred C. fondly remembers his grandfather Fred selling the apples from his home on Center Street.
Fred C. meet and fell in-love with his wife Carlotte Openshaw. They have two children Fred Allen Openshaw and Carlysa Angeline Openshaw Burrows who have fond memories of working on the family orchard. Their first born, Fred A. Openshaw has a passion and talent for farming and currently works full time alongside his father, Fred C. Openshaw and his grandfather, Fred H. C. Openshaw as partners of Fred Openshaw Farms.
Fred Openshaw Farms has had many phases over the years. We’ve always had fruit trees of one kind or another in the orchard. As time has past, other ground was purchased and Fred Openshaw Farms produced hay, grain, fat hogs and some cattle. Finally, in about 1980, Fred C. and his father Fred H. C. decided to plant most of the ground in tart cherry trees with a few red delicious apples, some nectarines, pluots, honey crisp apples and peaches were later planted. We love to work with the trees and shape them. We enjoy taking care of the fruit as we try to make it the very best.
Here at Fred Openshaw Farms we have stayed true to our family routes. Fred H. C. can often be seen driving around the farm with his son Fred C., Grandson Fred as they discuss the farm progress and prepare for harvesting fruit. Sometimes even the youngest Fred (Davey) will join the other Fred's. We love our family farm and are excited for you to learn more as you explore our website and taste our delicious fruit.