Parts of the land now owned and operated under the name Kuhn Orchards have been in the hands of the same family for many generations. Starting in the 1840's, Israel and Elizabeth Rife Mickley operated a general farm with some fruit in the Cashtown area of Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Isaac Mickley (son of Israel and Elizabeth) and his wife, Ida Trostle Mickley, owned another farm nearby in Cashtown during the time of the Civil War and Battle of Gettysburg. As the Confederate troops marched through Cashtown on their way to battle in Gettysburg, they used the Mickley family's small barn (which still stands today) as a hospital for the wounded.
Edna Mickley (daughter of Isaac and Ida) married a local boy named Charlie Kuhn. They moved to western New York and worked for a fruit grower whose orchards were located along Lake Ontario for two years until they moved back to Cashtown to help Isaac out with the farm. Eventually Edna and Charlie inherited the 175 acre farm and operated it as "Cashtown Fruit Farm". At this time, 75 acres of the farm was devoted to fruit (mainly apples), and the remainder was used as pasture for 50 steers, along with some hogs, chickens and a few dairy cows. The York and Ben Davis apples picked on the farm were packed in the field. The smaller apples were packed in three bushel wooden barrels for export to England. Larger apples were packed in bushel baskets for the Commission markets in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Edna and Charlie raised eight children on the farm.
Son Floyd, left home for a two year course in pomology at Penn State. After graduation, Floyd went to work for the United States fresh fruit inspection service, inspecting tomatoes in PA, raspberries and cherries in MD, grapes in Erie, and potatoes in northern Maine. During WWII, Floyd returned to the farm when several of his brothers traveled overseas. In 1948, Floyd married Marie Andrew, daughter of neighboring farmers, Clyde and Hilda Andrew. The Andrews owned a 100 acre general farm with some fruit. That year, Floyd and his brother Richard, purchased the Andrew farm and operated it under the name "Kuhn Brothers". Besides operating their own farm, both brothers also worked on an hourly basis for their parents. In 1955, Richard passed away, and Floyd bought out his share of the "Kuhn Brothers" farm from Richard's family. Three years later, when Floyd's father passed away, he prepared to take over the Cashtown farm and operated under the name "Floyd A. Kuhn Orchards". The apples and sour cherries grown on the farm were sold for processing to the Knouse Foods factory, and the peaches were sold to brokers for market in nearby cities. Floyd and Marie raised three children on the farm.
The middle child, David, graduated with a degree in Horticulture from North Carolina State University in 1973. After marrying the daughter of a North Carolina tobacco farmer, Mary Margaret Barnes, David moved back home with his new wife. In 1976, Floyd and David entered into partnership to operate the farm as "Kuhn Orchards". By this time, the farm consisted of 340 acres, including 150 acres in apples and 75 acres in peaches. After helping to manage the farm for many years, David transitioned into ownership of the farm in the 1990's. David realized that growing fruit for the processing plant and wholesale brokers was becoming less profitable all the time. So Kuhn Orchards decided to try selling fruit at tailgate farmers markets in Northern Virginia as many other local farmers had already been doing for years. Over the past fifteen years, Kuhn Orchards has diversified our produce and downsized our wholesale operation due to the success of our farmers markets, which is now more than half of our business. We enjoy the opportunity to sell our high-quality fresh-picked produce direct to our customers in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. area, and we've been adding new markets every year!!
David and Mary Margaret raised two daughters on the farm, Sidney and Rachel. Most recently, the oldest daughter, Sidney, has returned to the operation full time as the fifth generation of the family to farm the same ground. Sidney currently serves as the leader of the Mid-Atlantic Young Growers Alliance, helping to support the transition of the Mid-Atlantic fruit industry to the next generation of growers! We are currently working on our own farm transition plan to ensure that Kuhn Orchards continues to support our family for this generation and beyond.