The Young Grower Alliance (YGA) recently visited two farms in southeastern Pennsylvania – Cherry Hill Orchards and Kauffman Orchards. We had two very gracious hosts that provided insight into their operations and allowed YGA members to get an insider view of what goes on at each.

YGA members gather around the pear planting at Kauffman Orchards.

YGA members gather around the pear planting at Kauffman Orchards.

Clair and Lonnie Kauffman were our guides for Kauffman Orchards in Bird in Hand, PA. Both Clair and Lonnie emphasized the importance of diversification in both the production and retail areas of the business. While Clair showed us around the pick-your-own apple and pear orchards, we also got to see a young pawpaw planting and an area reserved for RVs during the harvest season. Kauffman Orchards do not need to provide any RV hookups, they just provide parking space. This is made possible through a network of farms that provide the same type of service. The only expectation of guests is that they patronize the farm they stay at.

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Clair Kauffman shows growers his young pawpaw planting.

Lonnie shared the retail side of Kauffman Orchards with YGA. They have recently diversified into ecommerce, and they use Amazon, Walmart, and other web platforms to sell both fresh and processed goods. Fresh apples and peaches can be purchased online, then carefully selected, packaged, and sent anywhere in the continental US. Cider can also be ordered and shipped frozen. The market also offers a variety of baked, canned, and bulk goods that can be purchased online and mailed to customers.

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Lonnie Kauffman shows YGA members their new cider press.

Our second stop was at Cherry Hill Orchards in Lancaster, PA. Corey McCleaf, the owner and manager, took the YGA crew on a hayride around the farm to show us all the different crops that are currently in production. Cherry Hill has a large pick-your-own operation including apples, peaches, and cherries, and a farmer’s market that draws many people from the Lancaster area and beyond. The market includes a variety of handmade goods, potted plants, and canned and baked goods along with their fresh produce.

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Corey McCleaf takes YGA members on a wagon tour around the Cherry Hill farm.

This was Corey’s second season of operating Cherry Hill Orchards. He also owns a farm in Adams County, which he helps operate as well. Corey stated that one of the big differences between Lancaster and Adams counties (besides the number of people!) are the soil types. Lancaster has very rich soils that promote vigor in the trees planted on the farm. The outcome of this can be different types of growth in Adams County trees versus Lancaster County trees. Managing these differences, along with managing the transition to new ownership, has kept Corey’s plate full over the past two years.

Overall, it was a great day and a great opportunity for YGA members to see what their peers are up to!

~by Nettie Baugher, Adams County Nursery

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Donald Seifrit
  • Extension Educator, Tree Fruit