Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Generations of Fruit Growers-Meet Boyer Nurseries and Orchards

It all began in 1900 when a man envisioned selling quality fruit to local farmers.  W.W. Boyer, the visionary behind Boyer Nurseries and Orchards, Inc., started with the idea of giving neighboring farms easy access to many varieties of apple trees for planting in their own orchards.  To this day, Boyer still grows fruit trees for commercial growers and home-owners.  These trees are typically picked-up or shipped in the spring.  The nursery has since been passed down through five generations of the Boyer/Lower family, and has expanded the scale of operations.

Main entrance at 405 Boyer Nursery Road, Biglerville, PA
The Nursery is nestled on about 1800 acres of stony mountain soil in the heart of orchard country against the scenic backdrop of South Mountain.  Concern for the environment has led Boyer to work on preserving the land.  Their property is part of the headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.  The Boyer family will soon complete placing half of their farm in conservation easements through a partnership with the Land Conservancy of Adams County to protect water and natural 

Rural landscape from Boyer Nurseries & Orchards

With nearly 500 acres in fruit production, apples are their largest commodity. Their home farm market is open seasonally beginning with sweet cherries in June and followed by sour cherries, apricots, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and of course, apples. Most apples support local processor, Knouse Foods Cooperative.

Apple season begins mid-August with varieties continually harvested through the end of October.  Cold storage helps keep apples fresh to supply their farm market through December 23rd.  Boyer offers about 40 different kinds of apples throughout the year and sells them directly from the farm Monday-Saturday 7AM-5PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM, and on location at the Outlet Shoppes in Gettysburg at Friday’s farmers’ market from 9:30AM-2:00PM.  Boyer has been a contributing vendor with the Adams County Farmers’ Market Association for seven years.

Loads of seasonal fresh fruit including over
40 varieties of apples!
The home farm market offers a wide variety of produce, as well as local honey, a variety of fruit spreads, Windy Knoll baked goods & ice cream, pottery, and recipes.

Emma Lower, a member of the fifth generation of the Boyer/Lower family, works at the Nursery and attributes Boyer’s success to its ability to stay diverse and adapt to the economic times. 

In the 1960-1970s her Great-Grandmother created the Garden Center (pictured below) to address the increasing demand of back-yard trees and plants.  Boyer’s Garden Center offers superior customer service to other retailers, and gives customers a more hand-on approach to creating and maintaining their landscapes.  They’ve also recently expanded into professional landscape design and installation.

Boyer's Nurseries offers a wide array of
trees, shrubs and perennials.

One of the most popular events at of Boyer Nurseries is “Pick Your Own Cherries” beginning mid-June.  Customers can bring family and harvest fresh fruit direct from the orchard.  Sweet cherry picking has been a popular draw since the tradition began many years ago.  Boyer also offers pick-you-own sour cherries, blueberries, and apples. 

In October, The National Apple Harvest contributes a lot of consumer traffic.  During the festival, Boyer Nurseries offers live entertainment by Ray Owen, access to their evergreen hedge maze, apple picking, and Bruster’s Ice Cream.  These forms of “agri-tainment” have created a loyal customer base, which appreciates the hands-on interactions with the nursery.

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