Our Farmers – Fred Wickham
Fred Wickham is Finger Lakes born and bred. Raised on the family farm in Hector, NY, Fred is a sixth generation farmer. His family is among some of the first families that settled along the Hector corridor at the turn of the 19th centuries. They began as fruit growers (mostly peaches and cherries) and expanded into grapes later into the 19th century. At its peak, the farm was over 800 acres dedicated to fruit and grape production.
Fred never wanted to be a grape grower. Like so many in the Finger Lakes, Fred’s dreams and aspirations looked far beyond the town of Hector. At Syracuse University he studied art and design and pursued a career in marketing and design. When the time came to begin raising a family Fred returned to home to Hector and the farm.
The current Wickham’s Tango Oaks Farm is round 80 acres of which 40 are farmed. Over the past 20 years the passion for farming has grown, and Fred’s children also now help on the farm, making them 7th generation farmers. Tango Oaks is a site “with incredible soil,” says Fred. “We have mostly Lansing and Howard gravel over shale. Perfect for growing fruit of all kinds. We are very diversified with an equal emphasis on grapes, cherries and peaches. Tango Oaks also has one of the prettiest views on all of Seneca Lake. We are dedicated to providing great fruit. Our practices utilize a combination of common sense aged-old wisdom and proven cutting edge technology and techniques. We look to the land and the plants provide us with guidance.”
Many assume a grower’s favorite time of year is harvest. For Fred, it is spring! The rebirth, renewal, the possibilities of a new growing season, and of course the colorful transition from winter that includes all the cherry and peach blossoms. All signs that warmer weather is on its way!