Our fruit market may have opened in the nineties, but our farming roots are actually four generations and nine decades deep. You also won't find a tighter bunch than the Knouse family, and that's not because we crowd into one big house on family trips. We've grown up together, eating our lunches off of the tree, playing capture the flag in the orchards, and summers at Grandma's house by the pool.
In 1926, the Knouse family got its big break in the fruit industry when Milton E. Knouse, took over management of a local, struggling apple and vegetable processing plant. The plant operated under Knouse Corporation and was used to process apples grown by him and other nearby orchard owners.
In 1949, the Knouse Coporation, which now included additional processing plants, approached a group of local fruit growers and together they formed a grower owned co-op called Knouse Foods Co-op. The farmers, in need of a leader, called upon Milton E. Knouse to assume the CEO position.
During the 1950's, Milton E. Knouse began purchasing additional land to grow our own fruit for processing under the business name M.E. Knouse Orchards. That's a long time to be in business, but let's say our style has matured well over time. It's provided us with a long standing relationship with the earth we love, which we're happy to share with anyone who catches us for a chat while visiting.
In 1966, Milton E. Knouse retired from Knouse Foods Co-op and began the full time management of his own 1,400 acres of farmland. Much of this same land still remains in the family business today.
As of 1973, on the death of Milton E. Knouse, the farms of M.E Knouse Orchards were incorporated into Knouse Fruitlands, INC, which is the company we operate today.
1992 - present
Knouse Fruitlands Inc. continues today under the ownership of the third generation, with the fourth generation and great-grandchildren of Milton E. Knouse, waiting the in the wings to continue on the family heritage. The 1,200+ acres of land scattered over eight farms in Adams, Cumberland and Franklin Counties holds over 600 acres of apples and an additional 100 acres of other fruits and vegetables. This same land produces much of the fruits and vegetables you will find in the Round Barn Farm Market.
Our farming roots run deep and our parents, who's parents taught them, instilled in us the value and joy in hard work, no matter what direction left took you. Since 1992, when the Round Barn Farm Market opened it's doors for business during the National Apple Harvest Festival, and every year since, no matter where family members end up living, we can count on them to be home for this event as reliably as yours may come home for the holidays. The crisp fall air, filled with red leaves and the barn, dotted with pumpkins, mums, a rainbow of apples and the warmth of family is nothing short of irresistible.
If you didn't grow up on an orchard: smelling the mint under the peach trees in the hot summer air while your tree-ripened snack drips down your chin - all while enjoying the view from the upper orchards - you've missed out on an awesome experience.