Thirty varieties of apples. Eight varieties of peaches. Four varieties of pears. Five hundred and fifty trees planted over four acres. Two hundred additional acres managed to help protect the Golden Winged Warbler. Perhaps you’ve seen their new barn trailer at the Clarksburg Farmers Market which houses their antique apple press. Or better yet, perhaps you’ve had a glass of their fresh pressed cider. Two hardworking farmers and their young daughter make up DNC Farm, LLC from Flemington, WV.
The orchard was planted in 2004 with the hopes of bringing apples to the local community, as the next closest large orchard is in Romney. Dan and his wife Cheryl work hard to manage their orchard in the most natural way possible. They have an eight and a half foot fence around the perimeter of the orchard to keep local wildlife out. They are in the orchard daily, whether it be harvesting fruit, mowing and trimming the grass, annual pruning, and also incidental pruning of fire blight, a naturally occurring bacteria that can completely destroy a tree. No chemicals are used once the fruit buds, and that’s the reason why the fruit looks “ugly.” Ugly in this case simply means the result of being exposed to Mother Nature and all that she hands out.
If you were to ask Cheryl what her favorite apple variety is, she would initially tell you that it depends on what is ripe at the moment. They only pick fruit off the tree that is at peak ripeness, which means peak flavor. But that one apple that makes Cheryl’s heart beat a little faster and upon her first tasting of the apple several years ago, made her eyes dilate like an actress on a Peppermint Patty commercial, is “Roger’s Red McIntosh.” Unfortunately the apple is very hard to grow and get a good yield from, so Cheryl has been working with local agricultural agents to try to find a good mineral and nutrient mix to help to increase yield from this delicious apple tree.
Dan and Cheryl always have their daughter with them at the market and I asked Cheryl what she hopes her daughter learns from being a “market kid.” She told me, “Do not become detached from nature. God put everything we need to survive here. Our culture has become too used to getting what they need from a store, and they have no idea where it came from, and forget to be thankful for who did raise, tend, harvest, package, and bring it to the store.” I think that’s a great thing for all of us to remember!
In addition to maintaining their orchard, working full time jobs, and caring for a variety of animals, Dan and Cheryl are also restoring a 1955 Chevy pick up. They have been working hard, when they have the time, and hope to one day soon bring it to the market!
Editor’s Note: All photos courtesy of Abbey Barnosky.