THE HISTORY OF KNOB CREEK ORCHARDS
Raymond and Loree Crotts set out their first apple trees in the late 1940s. No matter where he worked at the time, Raymond had a passion for apples as he and Loree would ride around on Sundays looking at apple trees. He brought his apple dreams to fruition after serving in World War II when he used his GI Bill benefits to pay for classes about farming. In 1958 Raymond and Loree bought "the Knob" and began farming. After a booming business with apples, they diversified their small business to include peaches in 1970. The agriculture endeavors didn't stop, strawberries were added in 1993 and blackberries in the early 2000s. The son of Raymond and Loree, Jeff, and his wife, Tara, now run this family operated business. With the addition of a new fruit stand and a store that sales homemade ice cream in 1996 they have seen continued success. As the Shelby Star states, "Knob Creek Orchards is now a landmark at the Cleveland-Lincoln county line."
FARMING: A FAMILY TRADITION
Jeff and Tara Crotts' are the owners of Knob Creek Orchards. Through their leadership, the family farm has grown to include blackberries, strawberries, and homemade ice cream. Jeff has truly learned from his father since the farm still practices sustainable agriculture that was an integral part of his dad's pioneering efforts. Family values and inclusion is important to both Jeff and Tara, and it is their values and morals that have led to the establishment of such a family friendly business.
With great role models for parents and grandparents the next generation of "Crotts Farmers" are constantly present at Knob Creek. They take part in every activity and have developed a passion for the business just as Jeff and Tara have. They and their children bring smiling faces to Knob Creek on a daily basis. They are the prime example of true family farming.
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES...
1989 was a year of devastating damage for Knob Creek. A tornado came through the area in May and wiped out about 85% of the apple crop and leveled the apple house. However, Raymond Crotts didn't let natural disaster deter him from his apple ambitions so he rebuilt the apple house only to have Hurricane Hugo come through and destroy 500 more apple trees. Through hard work and perseverance we are proud to say that Raymond continued his apple business and salvaged a harvest of 14,000 bushels of apples compared to his normal 80,000. After the damages Crotts was quoted saying "come back and see me in the winter and we'll graft some new trees." Apples were in his blood and that trait has been passed on from generation to generation since.
Here at Knob Creek we take pride in being environmentally friendly. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with Farm Credit have even awarded Knob Creek with a plaque for having some of the most environmentally sound practices in both Cleveland and Lincoln Counties. This article in the Shelby Star describes the environmentally sound practices we use. Through the use of pheromone traps we have been able to substantially lower our environmental footprint and the use of pesticides resulting in both financial and environmental benefits. These traps allow us to know what potentially harmful insects are in the fields that could be detrimental to our crops, and we are then able to spray only when necessary. Following in Raymond's footsteps we keep the environment first because without it we wouldn't have a business.