A New Phase for Big Horse Creek Farm

Thirty-three years ago, the great experiment we call Big Horse Creek Farm began in earnest with the planting of 50 apple trees in a brushy meadow high above the rocky banks of Big Horse Creek. Now, half a lifetime later and hundreds of trees richer, we are on the cusp of great change as we prepare to take our farm in a new, perhaps more challenging direction. We would like to take this opportunity to explain this new change in operations and how it will affect you as customers and supporters of Big Horse Creek Farm.

Over the last couple of decades, we have specialized in custom-grafting antique and heirloom apple trees. During this period, we have grafted tens of thousands of high-quality trees which have been planted in every state in the country with the exception of Hawaii. We take a great deal of pride in this fact, as these trees will be our legacy, a reminder of our devotion and dedication to our original mission to collect and propagate heritage apple trees with the goal of to bringing these “lost” jewels back in the public domain.

However, all good things must eventually come to an end and so we announce that, effective in 2020, we will no longer be accepting customer orders for custom-grafted apple trees. We will still be grafting a very limited number of trees this year but, instead of grafting several thousand trees, we will only be grafting a few hundred. All trees available for purchase must be picked up in person, either at the farm or any Saturday at the Ashe County Farmers’ Market.

The primary focus of our business now will be selling scionwood to individuals interested in grafting their own trees. For the last ten years we have been selling very high-quality scionwood gathered from our large collection of diverse apple varieties. And, as was the case with our hand-grafted trees, we will provide only the finest standard in grafting wood. As always, we will strive to maintain our reputation for the excellent quality of our products and our personal attention to customer satisfaction.

In addition, we will maintain our informative website as an educational tool for future reference and research. We have dedicated thousands of hours of research and logged many hundreds of miles in travel to visit farms and homesteads in order to collect apples and scionwood as well as the stories and histories associated with the heritage apples which are now part of our extensive collection.

To be honest, we are somewhat reluctant to close out this phase of our work at this time. We had hoped to continue a full schedule for several more years but the reality of increasing age and health issues have forced us into “semi-retirement” earlier than we had hoped. Some of our long-term customers have been aware of Ron’s ongoing struggles with Parkinson’s disease for much of the last decade. The progressive nature of this neurodegenerative disease has become increasingly problematic for Ron, making it extremely difficult for him to maintain a normal day-to-day work schedule.

So, in closing we wish to say how much we have enjoyed our work for the last thirty years. Like all agricultural-based occupations, there have been lots of ups-and-downs over the years, mostly due to unexpected weather events but, overall, it has been one hell of a thrilling ride! Through it all, there has been one constant which has brought us great joy and satisfaction. That has been the continuous support and compliments from our many fine customers. To both the one-time buyers and the dozens of long-term return customers, we extend a gracious, heartfelt thank you for your support and interest over the last 30 years. We wish you all the very best in life!