KUHN ORCHARDS HISTORY
For many generations spanning 170 years, parts of Kuhn Orchards’ land have belonged to the same family, making our orchard a fifth-generation family farm.
How It All Began
During the 1840s, Israel and Elizabeth Rife Mickley operated a general farm that grew some fruit in the Cashtown area of Adams County, Pennsylvania. Their son Isaac and his wife, Ida Trostle Mickley, owned another farm nearby in Cashtown during the time of the Civil War and Battle of Gettysburg. As the Confederate troops marched through Cashtown on their way to battle in Gettysburg, they used the Mickley family’s small barn as a hospital for the wounded. This barn still stands today!
Cashtown Fruit Farm
Edna Mickley had married a local boy named Charlie Kuhn. After their marriage, they moved to western New York, where they worked at an orchard along the chilly border of Lake Ontario. Two years later, they returned to Cashtown to help Isaac with the family farm. Edna and Charlie eventually inherited the 175-acre farm, which they dubbed “Cashtown Fruit Farm.”
And the 75 acres they devoted to fruit produced so many apples they packed the smaller apples in three-bushel wooden barrels and exported them to England and packed the larger apples in bushel baskets for wholesale terminal markets in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. They packed the York and Ben Davis apples in the field.
The farm was home to growing trees and a growing family. Edna and Charlie raised eight children on Cashtown Fruit Farm, one of whom—their son Floyd— took a deep interest in the science of fruit cultivation and enrolled in a two-year pomology course at Penn State.
After graduation, Floyd traveled the East Coast as a U.S. fresh fruit inspector, evaluating tomatoes in Pennsylvania, raspberries and cherries in Maryland, grapes in Erie and potatoes in northern Maine. He returned home to the family farm when, during World War II, several of his brothers traveled overseas.
In 1948, Floyd Kuhn married Marie Andrew, the daughter of neighboring farmers Clyde and Hilda Andrew, who owned a 100-acre general farm that produced some fruit, just as Floyd’s grandparents had. That year, Floyd and his brother Richard purchased the Andrew farm, renaming it “Kuhn Brothers.” Besides operating their own farm, both brothers also worked on an hourly basis for their parents.
In 1955, Richard passed away, and Floyd bought out his share of the Kuhn Brothers farm from Richard’s family.
Floyd A. Kuhn Orchards
Three years later, when Floyd’s father passed away, he prepared to take over the Cashtown farm and operated it under the name “Floyd A. Kuhn Orchards.” Floyd sent this orchard’s apples and sour cherries to the Knouse Foods factory for processing and sold the peaches to brokers who would market them in nearby cities.
Floyd and Marie raised three children on the family farm. Their middle child, David, graduated from North Carolina State University in 1973 with a degree in Horticulture. After marrying the daughter of a North Carolina tobacco farmer, Mary Margaret Barnes, David moved back home with his new wife.
Floyd and David entered into partnership in 1976 to operate the farm as “Kuhn Orchards.” By this time, the farm consisted of 340 acres, including 150 acres of apples and 75 acres of peaches. After helping to manage the farm for many years, David transitioned into ownership of the farm in the 1990s. At that point, he made a key decision. He saw that growing fruit for the processing plant and wholesale brokers was becoming less profitable all the time. So Kuhn Orchards decided to try selling fruit at tailgate farmers markets in Northern Virginia, as many other local farmers had already been doing for years.
Over the past fifteen years, Kuhn Orchards has diversified our produce and downsized our wholesale operation because of the success of our farmers markets, which now make up more than half our business. We enjoy the opportunity to sell our high-quality fresh-picked produce directly to our customers in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas, and we’ve been adding new markets every year!
The Fifth Generation
David and Mary Margaret raised two daughters on the farm, Sidney and Rachel. Most recently, their oldest daughter, Sidney, has returned to the operation full time as the fifth generation of the family to farm the same ground.
In 2012, Sidney purchased the business from her parents and became the fifth generation of her family to own and operate the same farm and land!