Restoring a Pocatello icon: Plans in the works to give new life to Frazier’s Farm | Agriculture


On a sprawling acreage south of Pocatello sits Frazier’s Farm — a beloved icon for many people who grew up in the area in the mid- to late 20th century. Known for its eggs, apple orchard and raspberry patch, the farm is steeped in nostalgia.

Now, though, the once-vibrant farm nestled in a valley on Mink Creek Road is beginning to blend into the landscape.

The buildings are dilapidated. The old retail store was gutted by a fire. The iconic barn with “FRAZIER’S” emblazoned upon the side where thousands of chickens once resided is unsafe for exploration. The orchard where local residents remember picking apples back in the farm’s heyday is on its last leg.

The new owners want to change all that.

Sean Macy and his wife, Chantelle, bought the property in 2020 and have big plans to restore the farm.

The Macys own Macy’s Apples & Hives, and their booth is a staple at the Pocatello farmers market and other craft fairs in the area. Their operation is currently run out of their home and orchard in Fort Hall.

They are planning to open a storefront for their wares at the Frazier property, as well as a small eatery to cater to people coming down the mountain.

Eventually, they are planning to restore the apple orchard and build a cider mill and workshop, among other upgrades.

The 11.5-acre property, which straddles Mink Creek, is currently zoned as rural residential. To operate a business out of the property, the Macys have to get a conditional use permit for commercial use approved by the county. They’ve submitted their application, and the county confirmed that its Planning and Development Council is set to discuss the permit’s approval during its public meeting on April 20.

The story of Frazier’s Farm begins in the 1930s.

According to his obituary, James Virgil Frazier moved his family from Springfield, Missouri, to Pocatello in 1932 to work for the railroad at the height of the Great Depression. When work ran out, James struck out on his own, getting into the grocery business.

Eventually, the business grew into Frazier’s Market, Frazier’s Fruit Farm and Frazier’s Poultry Farm. The latter two were located on the property now owned by the Macys on Mink Creek Road, and the market was in town on Washington and Cedar streets.







Chicken on eggs

A hen is pictured at Frazier’s Farm in this undated photo.




James’ son, Gerald Frazier, and his wife, Noreen, settled on the farm his father bought sometime after they were married in 1938.

According to Gerald’s obituary, “With countless hours together he and his (sons) grew the business into one of Idaho’s largest Poultry Farms with over 100,000 chicken(s) producing high quality fresh Grade AA eggs, which they packaged and sold to various dairy distributors, grocery stores and restaurants throughout all of southeast Idaho and Wyoming.”

Gerald’s oldest son, Dennis Frazier, eventually took over most of the operations at the poultry farm, running it until his death in April 1997 at the age of 55. The farm was sold in 1998.

While there isn’t much in the way of specific history on the internet about the Frazier property, there are, however, a lot of people who have posted memories of the farm or the market on local Facebook groups.

Searching for “Frazier’s Farm” in the “You know you grew up in Pocatello when…” Facebook group reveals many people who remember going to the farm to do things like picking apples or who reminisce about visiting Frazier’s Market.

(There are also a few interesting historical tidbits regarding the farm found in the Marshall Public Library’s archives of Pocatello newspapers. Two articles from June 1950 in the Idaho State Journal detailed the theft of “100 or more White Leghorn chickens,” 23 of which were found a couple days later in a garbage can on South Arthur Avenue. “The chickens were stuffed in a gunny sack and had not been cleaned,” the news report said. “Adjoining the garbage can was a bushel basket containing feathers, which indicated that some of the birds had been dressed. … Heads of thirty hens were found in one coop in the hatchery.”)







Eggs

Frazier’s Farm supplied eggs to many area restaurants and grocery stores.




The farm was so beloved that it seems to randomly come up in conversation with people who lived in the Pocatello area while the farm was still operating.

Dennis’ son, Marc Frazier, grew up on the farm during its heyday in the 1980s and ’90s and has countless stories of his time there.

In an interview with the East Idaho Business Journal, Marc said the poultry side of the business used cutting-edge technology in its time. Operations at the farm were nearly fully automated — from the way the eggs were collected and sorted, to how the hens got their food and water, and much more.

The farm was enough of a big deal locally that Marc remembers his classes taking field trips there when he attended Indian Hills Elementary School.

He recalls that the students would be excited when the teachers said they’d be visiting the farm. It was such a massive operation that kids were amazed — though, to Marc, being around thousands of chickens was just everyday life.







Gerald and chickens

In this undated photo, Gerald Frazier is pictured with a flock of hens at Frazier’s Farm near Pocatello. In its heyday, the farm was home to 100,000 chickens.




“Of course, you never saw anything like that — anywhere,” he said. “So I could see why kids would go there and be awestruck.”

The running of the farm was an affair that the whole family was involved in. Marc’s mother, Judy, as well as his sisters Kim, Keli and Kari and other extended family members were vital to the success of the farm, Marc said.

While poultry was the main part of the Frazier business, the fruit farm at the property was a major operation in and of itself.

Gerald’s brother Ephron was in charge of the orchard and the bees, and Marc remembers helping out — and also eating a lot of raspberries.

“We had to get up before the sun rose because the hotter it got, the worse it got because you were out there all day,” he said. “… You had your little carrier. Then you’d have like four or six individual cardboard containers that you would put in and then you’d go pick the raspberries and put them in there. Then they would go get weighed. Well, most of the time I ate all of mine. I would just eat them because they were so good.”

There was a store on the property that sold milk, cheese, yogurt, honey and fruit.

Marc says that his father was such an integral part of the farm that after he died, it was hard to keep the farm running.

“Once my dad died, they were able to run it for a few days, but then a machine would break,” Marc said. “… My dad was (usually) the only one that knew how to fix it.”

Sadly, that spelled the end for Frazier’s Farm, though its legacy has lived on in the memories of local residents.

Marc’s children never got to experience the farm, though he says, “I wish they would have been able to.” His oldest, Justin, was born in November of 1997, seven months after Dennis Frazier died.

Justin used to work at Oliver’s in Pocatello, and he’d interact with a group of older individuals who remembered the farm. He’d come back to Marc and say, “Dad, I met these people that just loved Frazier’s. They knew Grandpa Dennis. They knew Grandpa Gerald. … I heard so many stories.”

“(The farm) was definitely iconic,” Marc said.

While Sean and Chantelle Macy won’t be bringing back thousands of chickens to the Frazer’s Farm property, they do plan on reviving much of what made the farm so beloved, as well as adding their own flair.

The first phase of their plan involves refurbishing one of the smaller buildings on the property and opening a store to sell their ever-growing selection of products.

In that same building, they also want to add a small eatery that will have just a handful of tables and a modest selection of food and drink options.

“We don’t want to do burgers and hot dogs. We want to do something a little bit more personal and a little bit more nutritious,” Sean Macy said.

The farm is located down the road from popular local recreation areas, and Sean Macy said they’ll be catering to the crowds coming down the mountain and he hopes the property be a place for families to hang out. A selection of ice cream and other treats may help with that.

“I want a place for families to go with young kids where they don’t feel like they’ve got to spend 50 bucks to get ice cream,” Macy said. “Come in and … have an experience with your kids. ‘This is where apples grow. This is where bees are.’ We want to put the focus on the pollinator idea.”

Phase one also includes some landscaping work, “so it looks a heck of a lot better than what everybody’s been seeing driving by,” Macy said.

The couple hopes to become bee equipment distributors for a major beekeeper supply company in the first phase as well.

“The closest one to us is Twin Falls, so we would be the supplier for Pocatello, Blackfoot and Idaho Falls,” Macy said. “It would be huge, absolutely huge, to be able to do that.”

In phase two, they’ll run power to Mink Creek and revive the old orchard, salvaging what they can and adding more trees every season.

The existing trees are mostly Red Delicious, a variety that was popular in the 1990s, but not so much today. There are also Macintosh and Lodi trees. At the Macys’ Fort Hall orchard, there are 800 trees, the majority of which are Honeycrisp.

At some point, Macy said, they’d like to make it so people can come out to the orchard and pick their own apples.

Additionally, phase two will entail demolishing the old retail store, which was gutted by a fire sometime before the Macys bought the property.

In phase three, the couple will convert the second half of the building where they’re planning their store and eatery into a workshop to make bee equipment and a cider press for the apples from both Fort Hall and Frazier’s Farm.

“We want to be able to sell non-pasteurized, non-alcoholic ciders … and utilize not only the existing apples that are already growing down here, but one-third to one half of my apples in Fort Hall I can’t do anything with because they’re damaged,” Macy said. “So that would give me a place to bring them down and use them for cider.”

In the fourth phase, they will convert one of the former hen houses into winter bee storage as well as regular storage.

“So we want to convert part of it into its own not heated, but controlled, environment so I can keep it cold and start putting all my beehives in there,” Macy said of the 14,000-square-foot building. “So they’re cold but they’re not in the bitter cold in the wintertime.”

The final phase is to do something with the iconic Frazier’s barn.

“We’re hoping to be able to save it and use it,” Macy said.

He says that once they get approval from the county, the bulk of phase one will likely take about a year.

“We’ve got plans for this entire property,” Macy said.

Macy said his business has done well the past three years — despite the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges that came with that.

Part of their success can be attributed to a seemingly constant drive to put out new products.

In addition to a variety of bee-related products including everything from honey to lip balm to candy and candles and much more, one of the newer items that’s been a huge hit with customers is their pure vanilla extract, and that’s something they will continue to innovate. Macy said a new rum vanilla is set to be released in May.

They also recently got an ethyl alcohol permit from the state.

“The main thing we’re doing with that is we’re taking our propolis, the bee glue, and we’re (dissolving) that (into the alcohol) and making a tincture,” Macy said. “Propolis tincture is a supplement that you take to boost your immune system.”

One of the things they’d like to do in the building with their retail store is put in an extract station.

“We’re going to get countertop oak barrels with our emblem on them for each type of vanilla that we will dispense and we’ll (pour) it in person in front of customers when they order,” Macy said. “So it’s kind of an experience. We’ll have the vodka, then we’ll have the bourbon and we’ll have the rum on hand.”

Macy thinks the time is right to expand their business and offer something new to the community.

The public hearing in which the Macys’ conditional use permit will be discussed will take place at 5:15 p.m. April 20 in Conference Room 1 inside the Office of Planning and Development Services at 5500 S. Fifth Ave. in Pocatello.



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