Tracy and Todd, a brother/sister team, improved their apple orchard with the addition of a stand-alone cooling shed for bushels. The shed extends the availability of their apples throughout the season, allowing them to open to new markets.
Without a cooler, they are forced to sell and deliver the fruit as soon as it is harvested. Holt Orchards has sold their apples, grown on 45 acres, to packers and processors since 1982. Since Tracy and Todd recently took over operations, they have explored local markets, such as Flat Rock Tailgate Market and Bed & Breakfast on Tiffany Hill. They are also researching growing different varieties that are more suitable for this new business model.
Tracy and Todd are keeping the family farm alive after their stepfather, Markie Holt, passed away from a heart attack in 2009, followed by their mother Virginia Holt in 2014 after she battled cancer for three years. “It has been a hard road for us, but we decided to stay in business, not only for mom and Markie, but for us to stay together as a family” Tracy said.
They are approaching other potential new markets such as bakeries and restaurants. With increased sales, they can explore hiring part-time help to make deliveries and work markets.
“We would love to show others how you can be one of the smallest farms in the area and still succeed on a small scale,” Tracy said. “You have to find your niche and do things differently.”