John Margan, Weekend Manager
15 years ago, John Margan was working his route for UPS throughout the Valatie/Kinderhook area. One day that fall, as he was making a delivery to Golden Harvest, he struck up a conversation with Helen Crouse (profiled in the February 2014 newsletter). He told her, “You know, this is the kind of place where I’d like to work, after I retire from this job.” Her reply was: “Well, what are you doing tomorrow?” which happened to be a Saturday… The rest, as they say, is history.
After his retirement from UPS, John continued as weekend manager at Golden Harvest, while also taking a weekday job, as a security officer and shuttle bus driver, at the College of St. Rose to help with tuition for his sons Eric and Adam. (Adam has also worked some weekend hours at the Roadstand in the Fall). John trains and coordinates the student staff at the Roadstand which can get exceptionally busy in the summer, during the harvest and at Pick Your Own time. To give himself a change of pace, he also plants and tends his strawberry patch to provide the spray-free strawberries for sale at the Roadstand.
Civic duty is important to John as well and he is an enthusiastic and active member of the Kinderhook/Valatie community. Besides serving on the village ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) for ten years, John, with 2 friends, Gary Van Allen and Jim Tansey started the Kinderhook 5K 15 years ago. The race started with 100 runners and has grown to 700! Funds raised go right back to the local communities and support the library, rescue squad, fire station, high school cross country team, etc. Golden Harvest continues to be a sponsor of this exciting event. John has been an active supporter from the beginning of Columbia County Bounty (now expanded to Hudson Valley Bounty) and he also coordinates efforts with the Columbia County Fruit Growers and Cornell Cooperative Extension at the County Fair. John has been an active member of Kinderhook Elks Lodge for 38 years; he served as director of the soccer program for 8 years serving over 250 local youngsters from the Chatham/Kinderhook/Valatie area.
Any free time John can find is spent lovingly restoring his 1966 Ford Thunderbird with a 390 engine. John bought it 38 years ago from its only previous owner. He and Tony DeFrancesco of 9/20 Autobody have gradually restored it to mint condition, a 7-year labor of love.
John grew up nearby on a fruit and dairy farm in Germantown. As a kid, John worked on the farm of the pro-golfer Gene Sarazen, Grand Slam winner and inventor of the sand wedge. John and his wife Doreen have lived in Kinderhook since 1981. John knows nearly everyone in the local region and he’s eager to strike up a friendly conversation with new customers.
Cheryl Gilbert, Pick Your Own Coordinator
Cheryl is a transplant from Manhattan 15 years ago, where she ran the office for an architectural firm and did all her work inside a building. One year she helped out with PickYourOwn and, in her words, fell in love with the “vibe.” – meaning the orchard, the apples, the traditions, the tractor rides, the weather- rain or shine, the families and friends who come to enjoy all those things, too. She calls it the best job there is.
All fall you’ll find her greeting people in the orchard or riding around on her quad or golf cart, generally seeing to things in the orchard to ensure everyone is having a good time. Occasionally you may see her in the Roadstand during the winter season.