For eight weeks every fall, Indian Ladder Farms, a fifth-generation family operation near Albany, kicks into peak season.
The farm sells homemade apples pies, fresh cider and warm doughnuts. Schoolchildren arrive by the bus load to learn about growing apples. And as customers pick fruit from trees, workers fill bins with apples, destined for the farm’s shop and grocery stores.
This fall, amid the rush of commerce — the apple harvest season accounts for about half of Indian Ladder’s annual revenue — federal investigators showed up. They wanted to check the farm’s compliance with migrant labor rules and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets pay and other requirements for workers.