Carroll Barclay, entrepreneur who grew Delicious Orchards market, dies at 94
The next time you pick up a bag of apples, some cider and the apple cider donuts, take a moment to remember a man who helped make it all happen.
Carroll "Grandpa Skip" Barclay, who took over ownership of Delicious Orchards following World War II, was called home to the farm in the sky on Monday. He was 94.
The McDonald family, who currently owns the business, made an announcement on the Delicious Orchards Facebook page.
"We were talking one day about how he came up with the idea to open up Delicious Orchards as a retail market.
He said, 'Often times, everyone is trying to look out of the same window. And they are so busy competing with each other, they never stop to look up and notice there’s another window on the other side of the room, and the view is 10 times better.'
We’ll miss you Grandpa Skip. Heaven just got its apple cider donut game upped in a big way."
Carroll W. Barclay took ownership of Delicious Orchards following World War II and by 1959 there was a surplus of apples, so a 1,200-foot building was constructed on Route 537 where the wholesale market became a retail market.
Current part-owner Mike McDonald, whose father Bill worked for the Barclays, says the pies and donuts came next.
"Carroll's wife Janet then started making pies and it's the recipe we still use today," Mike McDonald told Townsquare Media News in 2019. "We started making the apple cider donuts about a year or two later and it was an immediate success. It was a new concept at the time, the farm to table idea, and it went crazy."
McDonald says it was such a success that traffic started building up on Route 537 so in 1964, a new building was constructed on Route 34.
Expansions between the 1970s and early 2000s made the Delicious Orchards people know it as today.
The transition from the Barclay family to the McDonald family began in 1977 when the Barclays sold the business to Tom Gesualdo, Frank McMahon and Bill McDonald.
"My dad started working here when he was 19 and it's actually where he met my mom (Linda)," Mike McDonald said. "Now it's me, my sisters Keri and Erin, my brother Chris and my parents and we're all still actively involved in the business."
Carroll W. Barclay Jr., graduated from Red Bank High School in 1944, attended one semester in pre-med at Syracuse University but decided to return home to help his mother manage the farm at Delicious Orchards in 1945, according to his obituary. He married Janet McDonald on July 10, 1948.
He is survived by a daughter and a son, Martha Barclay, of Berkeley, California, and David Barclay, of Colts Neck; and six nieces and nephews.