The 2014 Golden Acres Orchard newsletter, or Applegram, arrived in my mailbox today. Mrs. A. P. (“Scottie”) Thomson and son, John Thomson, of Golden Acres are the farmers who produce the delicious apple juice that FACSAP provides for our members each year. Golden Acres Orchard in Front Royal, Virginia is one of the oldest family-run apple orchards in the United States. Their apple juice is cold-pressed, and flash pasteurized.
For those members who may be interested in visiting the orchard this autumn or ordering a winter’s supply of apple juice, I’ve scanned the Applegram and created a PDF (please see the link at the end of this post.) This newsletter includes a greeting from Scottie and John, as well as order information. Cases of juices are available this fall for farm pick-up or truck shipping (6 cases minimum for shipping.) Bushels of apples are available both at the farm and by UPS delivery.
Golden Acres Orchard, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, does not have a website—this is a fairly low-tech, family business. If you plan to visit, I would recommend calling ahead and speaking directly with the farmers to inquire about hours of operation.
The orchard’s founder, A. P. Thomson, passed away in 1986. In an article for the Chicago Tribune, John N. Maclean describes Thomson as “a guru of the organic movement who took a worn out family homestead and gradually turned it into a showplace that has spawned imitators across the country.” Maclean adds, “Thomson’s apple orchard is as different from a conventional one as a garden is from a parking lot. The apples blossom in splendor in the spring, unthinned by man-made chemicals. Thomson’s bees accomplish the pollination. The blossoms become little green apples that survive and flourish without the 40 or so sprayings that conventional fruit growers may apply. They become big red and yellow apples and sometimes fall off, instead of being glued to the branch by a sprayed hormone.”
A wonderful interview with A. P. Thomson was featured in the January/February 1981 issue of Mother Earth News. Thomson discusses his farming philosophy and practices, as well as how he embarked on a life of farming. You can find the interview online here.