Mark Stennes - Stennes Orchard
Meet Mark Stennes, a fourth generation orchardist from Pateros, Washington. Mark’s great-grandfather homesteaded in 1894 and planted his first apple trees in 1900. The original 55-acre orchard expanded in 1984 – now boasting 250 acres of fruit trees. In addition to 60 acres of apples, including Fuji (organic), Honey Crisp (organic), Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, Mark grows pears, cherries, plum and pluots.
Mark’s father, Keith, is still working, but has turned over most operations to Mark and his twin brother, Kevin. Mark handles all the orchard operations and Kevin runs their retail businesses, as well as handling all the fruit sales.
Both Mark and Kevin completed the tree fruit program in Wenatchee at the Wenatchee Valley College and got business degrees in 2005 from Central Washington University. They wanted to complete their education in Wenatchee (60 miles from Pateros) so they could still be involved in the orchard during their years in college.
Mark credits his father for his desire to follow in the family business. “Dad made it fun; he didn’t use us for slave labor. We were allowed to help make decisions, even in high school,” he states. He also enjoys the flexibility of running his own business. He would definitely encourage his children to follow in the family business too, saying, “I hope we get four more generations in the business!”