Apples of yore, scenery galore

David Vernon adjusts some branches during our visit in the spring of 2009

David Vernon is holding his annual November open house every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at his gorgeous Century Farm Orchards, 1614 Rice Road, in Reidsville. Details and directions here.

His is as picturesque a place as you’ll see. Rows of apple trees flank a beautiful white farmhouse surrounded by rolling meadows, all situated along a quiet country lane. It’s a great chance to visit, as David doesn’t usually open the farm to the public, only by appointment.

David moved to his family’s 250-acre farm in 1999 and started a small apple nursery featuring old-timey Southern apples from the 1600s to the early 1900s. He also has some trees from the family farm’s beginnings, in 1872.

Apple blossom at Century Farm Orchards

David turned to famed Chatham County apple preservationist and historian Lee Calhoun for advice on grafting and growing. When Lee decided to sell his nursery, David, a chemistry teacher at West Alamance High School, stepped in to fill the gap.

David has grafted about 500 varieties of apple trees, as well as ten heritage pear varieties, and he planted a peach orchard. Apple varieties include Roxbury Russet, the oldest American apple, originating in Massachusetts in the 1600s, and Yellow June, in existence since 1845. Of Yellow June, he writes in his down-home catalog: “As a child I loved this apple because it was the first to ripen at my grandparents’ farm.”

What a sweet memory!

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2 Responses to Apples of yore, scenery galore

  1. chris s milam says:

    we just bought 10+ acres in manson nc on kerr lake and we are planing on putting in a orchard .we know little about planting but digging a hole.i eat lots of apples ,mostly from viginia,west you know of a good web site to get a heads up,so we dont kill anything we plant?

  2. didaniel says:

    That’s exciting! I don’t know any websites, but I’m sure you can easily find some great stuff online. If you’re interested in old-time varieties, check out David’s website, linked in the article. Also, you could email him directly through that site. He’s a walking encyclopedia when it comes to apples and other fruit trees. Good luck and enjoy!