Jim Fleming - Fleming Orchards
Meet Jim Fleming - an orchardist who didn’t even start his farming career until he retired from the job he had held for 40 years! Jim’s career in agriculture began in 1962 when he and his wife Sandy moved from Kitsap County, WA to Orondo, WA to work for Auvil Fruit Company. In 1980, he and his family relocated to Vantage, WA where they planted new orchards and built Controlled Atmosphere facilities for Auvil Fruit. By the time he retired in 1992, there were 500 acres of orchards in Vantage. Jim wasn’t ready to slow down, so he launched his second career as a full-time farmer.
The Fleming family currently farms 46 acres of Fuji and Cameo apples, as well as 8 acres of cherries. Jim’s late brother Doyle helped develop the Cameo variety and Jim is a firm believer in their taste and quality. His son Scott and daughter Laurie are partners in the orchard and Scott will take over the farm when Jim retires from his second career.
“Farming offers a great lifestyle, even if it’s not very lucrative at times. There is always something to do,” said Jim. His favorite part of farming is the variety of jobs year-round. He also likes the flexibility which allows him to spend time with his family.
Jim attributes his success to his attention to detail. Since they are a small operation they have time to do everything right and produce the best quality apples. In fact, the Fleming family was named “Grower of the Year” by the Good Fruit Grower Magazine in 1998.