Smoky Mountain Orchard
Grant Award: $6,000
Dwight added an acre of apple and pear trees to his 37-acre farm, in which he raises cattle, hogs and vegetables. He expects to generate income after the fourth year.
“By having a variety of saleable goods I have prepared for changes in the market and weather,” Dwight said. “If demand drops for one saleable good or if that good is not available, I can depend on another.”
He selected a site on top of a gentle sloping ridge with good air drainage. He cleared the site of trees and brush; plowed and prepared the soil with fertilizer and lime; planted the fruit trees; established T-posts for trellising; and built an electric fence to prevent wildlife damage.
The apple varieties he growing include: Gala, Ginger Gold, Jonagold, Empire, Red Delicious, GoldenDelicious, Crispin, Stayman and Fuji. The pear varieties are: Moonglow, Magness, Kieffer, Harrow Sweet, Harvest Queen and Seckel.
Farming has been a way of life for centuries in Dwight’s family, and Dwight has farmed for almost 40 years. He expects to retire soon from his 28-year career in education, and looks forward to working on the farm full-time like his ancestors.
He plans to advertise by word of mouth, at a farm stand, on his vehicle, online and in the newspaper.
No other apple and pear orchard exists in the Hiwassee Dam area of Cherokee County.