It all began in 1953, when 26 year-old Ralph Scurfield Sandoe convinced a skeptical Biglerville Bank board of directors that he could succeed as a farmer and fruit grower. Offering no collateral, Ralph boldly requested $14,000 to buy a 28-acre John Knox farm north of town, and got it! His persuasive charm also convinced Sara Mickley to marry him that same year, and they began to build their business and family together in Biglerville.
In hindsight, Sara and Ralph (or “Junie” as he is fondly known in the “Apple Country”) believe there is truth in the old saying “we lived on love.” They remember those first years of getting started in business as a real challenge. The barn and outbuildings on the Knox farm were literally falling down; the house (according to Sara) needed EVERYTHING! They recall that the first fruit stand was little more than a tumble-down shack!
During the early years, Ralph also worked as a Fieldman for ACFP and Distributing Company and it was through his business association with the growers that he realized their need for help in marketing the wonderful fruit and vegetables they were producing. In response, Ralph and Sara entered the retail produce business; and in 1970, began the wholesale marketing business.
In their “growing up” years during the Depression, Ralph and Sara had learned the value of hard work. Their parents provided adequately, but modestly. Both families were close-knit and urged respect and responsibility among the siblings. Undoubtedly, these early teachings inspired the Sandoes to work together lovingly and willingly to build their flourishing business. Their unselfish nature and volunteering spirit mark them as one of the most generous couples in the area.
The Sandoes retired in 1991. Today, Gary Kauffman—following the fine examples of the Sandoes—works to benefit the Adams County fruit-growing community as the new owner of Sandoe’s Fruit Market. Gary was working at Sandoe’s Fruit Market while still in high school; his first job was picking strawberries. Gary purchased the retail and wholesale marketing business in 1991 and lives next door in the Sandoe homeplace.