Folks from the farm market reached out to me to see if I'd like to come, explore the farm, do some berry picking and show them a little love in my blog. I couldn't really get the timing right this summer, but then all of a sudden, the stars aligned for fall.
I had a column due for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, I was traveling to Martinsburg for work, and I had already wanted to see this farm for my blog. So, it turned out to be a win-win-win. I wrote about agritourism, I got pumpkins we could use for WVU's photo shoot, AND I get to talk about how amazing this farm is right here in my blog.
This expansive farm has roots way back to the 1930s when it was a small fruit and berry farm:
During the depression days in the mid 1930’s, George S. Orr, Jr. helped his grandfather by working on his small fruit and berry farm. This farm was located just west of Martinsburg on the east side of North Mountain (Arden). As a young man George joined the U.S. Navy and traveled to California where he met his wife Juanita. With fruit growing in his blood, George S. Orr, Jr. returned to West Virginia and purchased a 60 acre orchard in 1954 and began a lifetime of growing fruit. With help from his family he increased the size of his orchard to 350 acres by 1979.The farm has pick-your-own pumpkins, fruit, games, activities, hayrides, a corn maze and a fresh produce market. Giant bins of apples of all different kinds were available - and you can mix and match a peck to your heart's content. I got quite a few to take home (and I may have ended up munching on all of them before I could make anything with them -- but so worth it!).
When George S. Orr, Jr. passed away in 1989, he was 62. He left his business to his wife Juanita, and their three sons (Mike, Mark, and G.W.). The corporation George S. Orr & Sons, Inc. owned 1,100 acres of orchards at that time, producing 500,000 bushels of fruit annually. The brand was “My Three Sons”. George left a legacy of determination, innovation, and competition.
In 1995 the family opened Orr’s Farm Market, a retail market to serve our local community. Over the years the Orr family has diversified into specialty crops, a pick-your-own operation, and agritourism events and activities.
Today, George Orr’s children and grandchildren are continuing the agricultural path that he paved for them. Pristine orchards are tended to by George’s son Mark Orr. A state of the art packing facility is managed by the eldest son, Mike Orr. The office is run by Mike’s wife Vicki and daughter Julie. Julie’s husband, Phil Bolyard, is IPM manager and helps with orchard operations as well. Mark’s eldest daughter Katy manages the farm market and her husband Don Dove is Packing Operations Manager. Other daughters help at the farm market during their summer breaks from college.
From the beginning Orr’s has depended on extended family and close friends to help bring in the harvests. Without such a dedicated staff of employees our farm would not be what it is today. George S. Orr, Jr. would be proud of what the family has accomplished so far, but there are many goals still on the horizon.
I picked my own pumpkin in the patch (the best looking pumpkin ever!) and skipped past dozens of others that were ~almost~ right. When you know, you know, right?
I then took the hayride back to the market. The hayride, by the way, is cute and takes you past the farm's animals and some of the property. Very cool.
The market is something else. Like, it was beautifully set up with all sorts of pumpkin displays, those bins of apples and other general produce that takes up every shade of the rainbow. Plus, there are some fun toys and candies for the kiddos.
Orr's really does have it all. It's a beautiful location with so much fun things to do and the most delicious fresh produce available. They do lots more pick-your-own earlier in the season, and I, for one, can't wait to get back for some strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes... all of them, basically.
This is truly a destination and some place I could spend an entire day at -- I wasn't joking when my column talked about how successful they have been with their agritourism efforts. It's grea tot see a farm like this excelling and really being part of all of our memories.
Have you been to Orr's Farm Market? If so, what's your favorite part?