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LaMont Farm marks 200 years in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Roger LaMont, a sixth generation farmer, unveils a marker for Josias LaMont, who started the family farm in 1815.

The marker, unveiled during a 200th anniversary celebration on Saturday, will be placed on Lattin Road near West Transit Church Road, where the farm started.

The LaMont family is just the second to reach the 200-year milestone, following the Brown family in Waterport. The Browns were among about 200 people who attended the celebration on Saturday.

The party was held at Roger and Ingrid LaMont’s on Densmore Road.

The LaMont family has been progressive in the apple industry with planting new varieties, adopting new marketing and storage techniques, and working with other growers.

George Lamont (Editor’s note: George spells Lamont without a capital M) said keeping the farm in the family for 200 years “takes more guts than brains.”

George Lamont in 1997 was named the Apple Grower of the Year by the American Fruit Grower magazine. Lamont was an industry leader locally and nationally. He served as president of the Premier Apple Cooperative, which helped farmers with forecasting their crop, marketing the produce and “talking to each other.”

He also was president and executive director of the New York State Horticultural Society, and along with his brother Roger and other local apple growers helped start the Lake Ontario Fruit packing facility on Ridge Road.

This plaque shows a picture of Roger and Ingrid LaMont helping to sell new SnapDragon apples. LaMont served as president of the New York Apple Growers LLC, whch worked with Cornell University to manage two new varieities of apples: SnapDragon and RubyFrost.

“In the fruit world they are the most influential name in the state,” said Rod Farrow, who is now co-owner of Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport. “They’ve been major players in the industry.”

This file photo from August 2013 shows Roger LaMont with some of the new apple varieties. LaMont worked to establish the program with Cornell for the new varieties, making them exclusive to New York growers, giving them an edge in the marketpace. A portion of the sale of the apples also goes to Cornell for its apple breeding program.

LaMont said the agreement is good for New York apple growers, giving them a pipeline to new varieties in the future, and also ensures funding for Cornell’s program. LaMont took on the leadership role in the industry as he neared retirement.

Roger LaMont, back left, shared the family farm’s history to a crowd of about 200 people on Saturday.

Former Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin, whose family dates back to the 1830s in the Gaines area, also spoke about the LaMont farm and the family’s tenacity for keeping the business going for 200 years.

This photo from the 1950s shows George and Roger’s grandfather George B. LaMont, left, and their father Tom LaMont.

This family photo from 1904 shows an apple-picking crew.

One of the bushel crates from the farm was on display at the party.

Historical photos and other information were presented outside Roger and Ingrid LaMont’s home. For several years, they operated the Orchard Vew Bed and Breakfast from the house, which was built in 1912.