Monday, October 19, 2009

The Orchardist

It's been a privilege for my husband and I to meet and get to know Wayne and Toni Myers, the owners and operators of Faith Orchards, in Douglassville, PA. They remind me of Tolkien's Samwise Gamgee and his wife Rosie--humble, quiet, salt of the earth world-changers. The orchard is an amazing place to visit, and unique in that they grow over 70 kinds of apples, some of the most interesting being the heirloom varieties, such as the Roxbury Russet c.1640, perhaps the oldest named apple in the US. I also learned of the Esopus Spitzenberg c.1790, reportedly Thomas Jefferson's favorite; and Ashmeade's Kernel c.1720 from England, my favorite, especially with peanut butter and bacon on toast. Trust me - it's good.

Wayne is so knowledgeable about the history of the apples he grows, and hospitably slices one open for you as he tells of its origins. Last February, he taught us how to graft an apple tree. As we were leaving, his wife gave us a large bouquet of pussy willows from her garden. Not only are they generous to their customers, but all of their profits go to various missions throughout the world.

A delicious slice of "Hidden Rose", yellow-skinned with gorgeous pink streaks on the inside.

So hard to choose...

Some of the apples go into making the best all natural cider we've ever tasted.

Thanks, Wayne and Toni. We'll be back soon.


Niamh said...

Ooh! I love his apples! I still have my green egg from there that he gave us. That was awesome going there when we all went together cause I had wanted to go to the National Apple Harvest Festival, out in Arendtsville, PA. But you cannot get near it for all the traffic trying to get there! So Zac and I had pizza in Gettysburg instead. Then you took us to see that guy, and by the way, you must also put cheddar cheese on the sandwich and toast it. I was thinking about that guy and his apples a couple days ago. Apples went on sale in Walmart and I was thinking about how when we went, his apples were so juicy and wonderful and there was so much variety of flavors and colors. The Walmart apples are so drab and tasteless. Now I'm feeling the need to bake an apple, ham and onion pie. I love the autumn, so many yummy foods and its not too hot to run the oven.

Anonymous said...

The apple, ham, and onion pie sounds yummy!
We, too, have splendid memories of our fall trip to Faith Orchard, and I'm spoiled to say, more trips since.

I'm sure Wayne and Toni would blush bright as the center of their Hidden Rose if they knew they had such a following!

It is so encouraging to find folk that labor for the love of the craft and additionally, who do it as a labor of love. Now that's a combination.

Johnny Appleseed himself would be proud of the palette of Heirloom apples they cultivate and make available to the public, reminding us apples actually have flavor- subtle and complex flavors, at that.

It's weird to say, but after tasting a firm (not grainy), juicy, almost sweettart flavored Winesap, I can breathe again!

Thank you, Wayne and Toni!
Thanks for the post, Jodi!

Joy said...

Awesome post and such great stories about Wayne and Toni and with the history of the apples.

Having worked with fruiting trees I can say how awesome a job it is. Very relaxing being outdoors and learning how to make trees grow better.

hee hee when I first read this post last night I read a bit too fast and thought you had written that the Esopus Spitzenberg with apple, bacon, peanutbutter on toast was reportedly a favorite of Thomas Jefferson. I was a bit skeptical...but it is a good picture imagining him eating a sandwhich like that at Monticello.

Jodi said...

Which would have been implausible since peanut butter was not actually developed until the 1890's by a Mr. George Washington Carver.
Aren't I a smartypants?

Joy said...

Well yes, but that's why I was skeptical.

imchosen4worship said...

My husband made applesauce for my birthday this evening. I wonder how much better it could taste with quality apples? I must google this. We'd love to go sometime. Thanks for sharing.

Jodi said...

do go if you can it's worth it! Or I could bring you some next time I go.

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate to be one of 3 children growing up on what we lovingly refer to as "Myers Mountain", AKA-"Faith Orchard". My parents, Wayne and Toni, truely are an example to their family and all they meet. They love and live the "simple life" and have passed these values on to their family. They have taught us that God is our strength, Family is a place where you will always belong, and everyone is welcome on "Myers Mountain". A visit to Faith Orchard will not only fill your basket with delicious apples, but also fill your heart with Love. Debbie Auman-daughter of Wayne and Toni

Jodi said...

hey Debbie,

Thanks for stopping by. You are truly blessed. My hope is that my husband Mike and I are passing on that same heritage to our children.

Pat said...

Toni sent me a link to your blog. I have enjoyed reading your posts and viewing your photos. Some great posts about Wayne and Toni and all true. They are wonderful friends. Your other posts are interesting as well. Please feel free to stop by and visit my blog at


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