Apples in Virginia

Apple orchard in Frederick County
Apple orchard in Frederick County, 2002

Apple trees will grow on slopes not suitable for crops such as corn and wheat. Major centers of apple production in Virginia were the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah Valley. High costs of labor and imported apple juice from China made commercial production uneconomic, starting particularly in the 1980's.

Today, the Bowman Andros plant in the Shenandoah Valley still processes Virginia-grown apples. The privately held French-based company, which has 30 plants worldwide, operates three plants at Mount Jackson that produces primarily applesauce snacks for children. In 2019, the company announced plans to replace Plant #3 and build a new facility next to it, upgrading capacity to convert apples into packaged food.1

in the 1930's, Blue Ridge residents grew apples on hillsides with thin soil and dried them for storage
in the 1930's, Blue Ridge residents grew apples on hillsides with thin soil and dried them for storage
Source: Library of Congress, Drying apples, one of the few sources of income for the mountain folk, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (by Arthur Rothstein, 1935)

selling apple products at a roadside stand to tourists in the 1930's
selling apple products at a roadside stand to tourists in the 1930's
Source: Library of Congress, A cider and apple stand on the Lee Highway, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (by Arthur Rothstein, 1935)

Apples around Winchester are harvested by migrant workers, including some from Jamaica with H-2A visas. They are housed in September-October in a camp operated by the Frederick County Fruit Growers Association. From there, workers are bussed to different orchards to pick apples.2

the Frederick County Fruit Growers Association operates a camp to house migrant workers who pick apples
the Frederick County Fruit Growers Association operates a camp to house migrant workers who pick apples
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Applejack

Links

apples have been a major crop in mountainous areas where row crops were not feasible
apples have been a major crop in mountainous areas where row crops were not feasible
Source: Boston Public Library, Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection, Apple blossom time in Virginia

References

1. "Bowman Andros to build new plant," Northern Virginia Daily, April 5, 2019, https://www.nvdaily.com/nvdaily/bowman-andros-to-build-new-plant/article_06819bbf-d9a2-51e6-8e1e-f15e59c79e83.html (last checked April 7, 2019)
2. "Apple harvest cropping up to be a tough one," Winchester Star, September 8, 2020, https://www.winchesterstar.com/winchester_star/apple-harvest-cropping-up-to-be-a-tough-one/article_a36920ef-339c-534d-bd9f-7f906be9138e.html (last checked September 8, 2020)

apple on tree
Apples in Frederick County, 2002


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