My visit to OESCO

OESCO, formerly Orchard Supply Company, is the type of business that Amazon is killing off these days, except for the fact that they sell and service a lot of heavy spray equipment for commercial orchards.

They are improbably located far from the Hudson Valley, in a rather isolated area in NW Massachusetts, that is 3 hours of driving each way from me (not counting stops). The employees are like a family and the business is built into the structure of a very old brick factory from another century, when even small creeks could be used as sources of energy for industry. I love those old brick factories.

I went there to have them service one of my Rears estate sprayers, a well-made but expensive unit with a 25 gallon stainless steel tank on bicycle wheels that includes a 4 hp Honda engine and very good Italian pump.

For me, being in their store was the equivalent of the cliche, “a child in a candy store”. I love orchard hand tools and their selection is impressive. Seeing tools on a computer screen tells you so little compared to picking one up and holding it. I have bought so many tools over the years just to test them out- a very expensive process.

After checking out several loppers, none felt quite as light or looked better engineered than the Bahco ultra light orchard loppers I currently use (they had them too). Nothing tempted me away from my ARS pruning shears, or my Silky Gomtaro pruning saw either.

Actually, that isn’t quite accurate. The ARS pruner is best used with a holster because it often accidentally opens in my pocket. I am replacing the ARS 7 with a very cheap Barnell 606 pruner, that is small and light, cuts like a samurai and has a secure closing system that operates with your thumb on your pruning hand- the way I like it. It is a bit small, even for my hands, but it’s perfect for keeping in a pocket. I also purchased a Corona scissor pruner that looked like a duplicate of an ARS tool but was under $10.

Barnell always seems to make very functional tools at a very affordable price. Another company they represent that I never heard of before called Castellari also does this. They had a similar pruning saw to my expensive Silky Gomtaro that was a fraction of the price and, according to the repairs manager, “almost as good”. I believe him, but will stick with my Silky. Castellari makes an awesome looking anvi- type loppers that I would have purchased if I didn’t already own the much more expensive ARS version. They have a compound fulcrum system that makes quick work of heavy brush.

That repairs manager taught me something very interesting about my sprayer. It provides paddle-wheel agitation that is about the only way to adequately keep Surround mixed during spraying in a powered machine. Jet agitation doesn’t stop the stuff from settling at the bottom of the sprayer. No wonder the commercial tree companies that do this never get it done right- that is, get a thick enough coat on the fruit.

They do have a pretty good web site and you can always reach a knowledgeable person on the phone there.


You make me feel like driving there. It is roughly 90 miles to get there, in the middle of nowhere. But, western MA area is naturally pretty.

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Yes, I just came back from picking up my repaired sprayer and went with my wife. We had a wonderful drive and stopped for lunch in Pittsville (or something like that). Lots of restaurants there. Fall color is only a few days from peak in the area.

I think it’s Pittsfield, MA.


Middle of nowhere for you, just up the road for me!

Thank you for mentioning this place, Alan, I’ll have to go check it out sometime. My dad (a former tree-trimmer) would definitely get a kick out of it. And I notice that they carry materials for trellis construction, a project that’s coming my way soon.

If you stopped for lunch in Pittsfield, I’m guessing you took Route 9 across to 112 and then over on 116 to Conway. I have to say, I’m impressed that you didn’t get lost, because I almost always do, more or less, whenever I head up that way. (When I was learning to drive, my dad took me up into the hill towns, on the theory that there would be fewer moving objects for me to run into. On one of the many occasions when we got lost, we came up on a field, looked out, and saw a small herd of alpacas looking back at us. Shortly after, we passed a town line sign informing us that we were entering Peru. Peru, Massachusetts - Wikipedia)

Definitely beautiful up in the hill towns this time of year, and while it is definitely a bit off the beaten track, I’m learning that there are actually a number of fruit-growing points of interest in the area, including Nourse Farm a bit further east, Scott Farm Orchard about half an hour north, and Franklin County Cider Days a couple of weeks from now. And just generally a lot of small orchards scattered all over the place. For example, I understand that Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield, which Alan would have passed through on the way to Conway, has a very good local reputation for its cider. Some of the best local apples I’ve had come from Apex Orchards in Shelburne, the next town north from Conway. It’s a family-owned place originally founded by a Revolutionary War veteran named Abner Peck in 1828 (A. Peck’s = Apex).


You silly, I had the GPS on my Pixel phone telling me where to turn with lots of advanced warning. It took me 2 years to figure out how to get the bluetoothe to play through my truck’s audio when giving directions but I think I’ve mastered it. In another 5 I may manage posting pictures from it on this forum, which would certainly make my topics more interesting.

At any rate, I did not take the difficult route. My home is little more than a mile from the Taconic which I drove to the MA Turnpike.


For Bostonians, anything west of Rte. 128 is out in the boonies. For us here in Worcester County, west of us is the boonies :smile:

When my wife was finishing up her Med School in Worcester and didn’t know where we would end up I scouted past Worcester into the boonies just in case we ended up staying in Worcester for work no way was I gonna live there. You could get acreage for a good price. I can imagine me out in the boonies growing many more fruit trees. Really pretty towns out that way.

Here is OESCO’s Website:

Sounds like you took the smart route, Alan. I think it was the talk about Pittsfield that threw me off - seems like that would be quite a ways out of your way if you came up the Taconic and across the Pike to 91.

Myself, I’m more of a “study Google maps for a week prior to trip and then get lost anyway” kind of person. It’s a gift.

I’m aware of the pattern you described, Mamuang, because it continues out here, where people in the Pioneer Valley think of everything west of us as the boonies. Although I think it actually gets boonier (if that’s a word) between here and Worcester, as John may have experienced when he went scouting around back in the day.

Long ago I bought a bunch of stuff mail order from OESCO. They had great products, prices, and service. I am still using all the tools I bought from them – hand pruners, loppers, pole saw pruner, spade, fork, and trowel. I would buy more but these things have all lasted 15+ years now. :wink:

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Do you like the phone? Is it hard for an oldster like me to learn?

Yes and no and I will never really learn to use it. It is great to ask google to answer questions, even while you drive. If I want to convert measurements or anything like that I don’t have to use a calculator, I just have to say, “OK Google, how many square feet are there in an acre”, or whatever, and I get an answer almost immediately. The problem is that it is not at all self explanatory and is quite complicated. They need to design ones for senior citizens but generation X is getting even with us for trashing their planet and electing terrible presidents.

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Then I will not buy their stinking phone and agree Barry O. wasn’t a good president,:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Fight the temptation…

…just let it go… :wink:


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Well this isn’t the lounge, so I will. But I believe Silicone Valley went for President O and most decidedly, not T.

Alan my friend,

That will go down as one of my favorite spelling mistakes you sometimes make. I wish I had made it.

Silicone Valley - how that fires the imagination. I’m still laughing. Made my morning.


Freudian slip , I presume. :slight_smile:


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What’s a little e among friends? Brady