Ron’s New Blog

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Welcome to the newly revised, modernized and updated website for Big Horse Creek Farm. With the help and guidance of our good friend and master web designer, Kim Hadley, we think we have created a site that will capture your interest. We hope you enjoy your visit and appreciate your comments about our work. (Contact Us)

From the very start, our website has always been a “labor of love” with the emphasis on “labor”! I recall spending the winter of 1998 diligently working many long nights to create the site. I was using an early software edition of Microsoft  FrontPage to put it all together, an experience in frustration that I would not care to repeat. The early software worked well enough but had its quirks. There were numerous crashes and losses of data leading to many moments of screaming and hair-pulling! I stayed with it, however, and we finally went live in the spring of 1999. We were tense with anticipation, not knowing how well the website would be received, but hopeful for a successful debut.  Fourteen years later, despite many stumbles, restarts and setbacks, we can say with some sense of pride that it all worked well and we now enjoy the “fruits” of our success.

In the period since the debut of the website we have grafted and sold tens of thousands of heritage apple trees and have shared the pleasure and joy of these wonderful old apples with many hundreds of people nationwide.  With the exceptions of North Dakota and Hawaii, our trees are now being raised in every state in the union! Historic old varieties such as Virginia Beauty, Mattamuskeet and Carter’s Blue, once very rare, are now preserved for future generations to enjoy. Some ancient varieties like Hall and Junaluska, at one time thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered, and through the dedicated work of our fellow collectors and preservationists, are now available once again for apple lovers everywhere.

Collecting and raising so many different varieties is certainly a difficult challenge and success has not always been ours. We have planted and lost many varieties over the years but we continue to seek out these precious American treasures to add to our ever-growing collection. Many classic apples like Kittageskee or Yadkin Beauty are probably lost forever but we continue our search for other “lost apples” in the hope that we can save these selections from a similar fate. We simply cannot abide the thought of losing more historic apples, thus the driving force behind our work.

So, as we take our website from the late 20th century into the new millennium, we will continue our efforts to protect and preserve these apples. Over the coming years I will use this blog to share our work with you in the hope that I can inspire you to better appreciate American heritage apples and the stories that go with them. I will update you on what new apples we have found and share our experiences and comments about those apples we currently maintain in our extensive collection. I will provide weather reports, discuss events on the farm and share other issues I think you might enjoy. As always, I look forward to hearing from my readers and hope you will write with your comments and suggestions on how we can better serve you. Who knows, we may even be lucky enough to find a reader out there who just might know where we can find an ancient, abandoned Kittageskee tree!

In the meantime, enjoy our new website and let us know what you think.

Be well.

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  1. Doug Hundley
    Doug Hundley09-20-2013

    Hi Ron,
    I was so pleasantly surprised to see your new website this morning. Congratulations on a job well done. I’ve only spent a ha;f hour looking at it but I like it a lot. We are continuing our heirloom apple project in Avery County helping many people get into their own home heirloom apple orchards. I’ve found a few new apples this summer, a Buttermilk, and an Ozark Pippin,. We are finding new trees of Summer Rambo and large Rambo.

    I’ve still got apples here I can’t determine a name for but that hasn’t stopped us from grafting a providing them anyway for anyone interested. I need to bring them to you. If you pass anywhere near Newland in the next few weeks call and make plans to stop and visit a little while.

    How is your health? How is your battle with Parkinsons? Your website reminds me on my efforts. As my health declines with age and joint issues I’ve started a blog too and been working with NCSU apple specialists at Fletcher to develop better “home orchard apple guidelines”. Extension agents have always been frustrated with the lack of home orchard advice from the Extension Service. Keeping in mind the average own apple grower I’ve written a handout I’d like you to look at. I hope I can atttach it to this email message.

    I’m also working with the ASU Fermintation Dept. on hard apple cider production utilizing heirloom apples. I know that Dr. Seth Cohen would like to have access to some of you cider apple fruit. He’s trying to develop a catalogue of heirloom apples with some basic chemical analysis. Jason Bowen (from the Horne Creek Orchard) and I are sending him fruit. Let me know if you’d like to get involved. know your involvment would be very helpful. Cohen is well connected to the up and coming NC cidery industry.

    I’ll just send my home apple production guideline handout to the email address I have for you. But please put me on your blog mailing list and I’ll put you on mine,
    Look forward to hearing back from you.
    Sincerely, Doug

  2. David
    David11-14-2013

    Dear Ron,

    I was looking for scionwood sources earlier this year and came across your website for the first time then. When I looked again, it had all changed and I wasn’t sure I had the right place!

    You have an excellent website.

    Since very few of us are in a position to compare and evaluate so many apples, would you tell us your favorite fresh-eating and culinary varieties; and, for the organic grower, which varieties have been easiest to grow/manage in your area? Also, have you seen the maturity chart on the Adams County Nursery website (http://www.acnursery.com/maturity_chart.pdf)? Something like that would be helpful for plugging the holes in my orchard’s ripening sequence.

    Will be checking back again in January for your scionwood list.

    Sincerely,

    -David

  3. Tim & Kristi
    Tim & Kristi12-08-2013

    Just picked up three lovely trees!! They are in the ground and we are waiting for spring!
    You have wonderful product and we are looking forward to ordering more to add to our little orchard! Thank you again!!

  4. Chris Talton
    Chris Talton10-18-2014

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the fine heirlooms I have. My early harvest , st edmunds pippen, and golden sweet should be bearing in 2 more years. Yellow June is my favorite. You just can’t buy these in a grocery store ! I tell all my customers at fresh market that you haven’t lived until you bite into a hall seedling or a st. Edmunds pippen! Keep up the good work . Looking to buy some hall trees soon!

    • Ron Joyner
      Ron Joyner10-22-2014

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the kind words. We could not agree more with your statement “you haven’t lived until you bite into a Hall seedling or a St. Edmunds Pippin”… or a Limbertwig or a Black Ben Davis or a Spigold or a Westfield-Seek-No-Further or (name your variety)…!

      Thanks again and good luck with all your trees.

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