SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. – For the second year in a row, White House Fruit Farm
in Canfield, Ohio, was honored as a finalist for the Outstanding Farm Market of the Year by the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association.
Debbie Pifer accepted the award on behalf of her family at the association’s annual conference in Austin, Texas.
The farm has been in the family since the early 1800s. Five generations after the family first began farming, a descendent, Jerome Hull, purchased 100 acres of the home farm from his uncle. Jerome and his wife planted the farm’s first apple and peach trees in 1924.
Fruits and veggies. In the 1960s, Jerome passed controlling interest to his son David, the only child to remain on the farm. David and his wife concentrated on producing fruits and vegetables.
In the 1970s, David began attending Ohio Roadside Marketing Conferences and then, to pursue a different farm business model, renovated the 1881 bank barn to house a year-round retail market.
The 1980s brought still more changes to the farm. Two of David’s children returned to the farm and took on different responsibilities that led to increased fruit production, farm market growth and more vegetable production.
Variety. The farm now includes 30 acres of apples, 10 acres of peaches and nectarines, 5 acres of strawberries, 3 acres of blueberries and 30 acres of various vegetables.
Customers can pick their own strawberries, peppers and tomatoes.
By 1990, White House Fruit Farm was a year-round retail market. Other family members joined in various roles.
The latest major addition opened in January 2005. The market – which was 3,200-square feet in 1978 – is now 12,000-square feet.
In the fall, the family offers school tours, senior tours, a craft show and harvest festival, petting zoo, and horse-drawn wagon rides on weekends.
Visit www.whitehousefruitfarm.com to learn more about the farm.
How it’s awarded. Each year, North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association members nominate their peers for Outstanding Farm Market of the Year.
Nominees must demonstrate success as a result of farm direct marketing, willingness to share business-related ideas, creative merchandising techniques, creative and successful marketing ideas, a farm identity that sets them apart from others and involvement with farm-related organizations.
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