Twin Sugars Orchard- May 2015- Featured Farm
One of the original apple trees at Twin Sugars Orchard
Way up in Friars Hill in northern Greenbrier County apple trees at Twin Sugars Orchard are pink -tipped with the whites of the flower buds starting to peak through. It is late April and soon the trees will be in full bloom creating a forest of white and green. This is the time of year when the rose-breasted grosbeaks return and take refuge in the trees. “They always arrive when the trees are in bloom and their coloring is so similar they blend in, you have to look very carefully to spot them” says Michael, the owner and orchardist.
Michael Rosolina and his wife, Judy Stennett, are avid bird watchers. From their perch, on two porches overlooking the orchard, you can see a wide variety of creatures flying about. Michael calls it the “bird channel” which they watch instead of TV. Michael and Judy keep hummingbird feeders on the porch and sometimes see as many as 25 hummingbirds at one time. They feed and encourage birds as part of their pest management strategy. The birds cause minimal damage and help keep bugs and disease in check. In turn they provide great entertainment.
Pink- tips about to blossom
Michael has lived on his property, known as the “old John Lewis place”, since 1980. Looking to expand his orchard he found the old heritage varieties were not available commercially, so he taught himself how to graft. Over the course of 12 years he slowly grew his orchard from a few trees to around 150 trees. Michael now has an orchard full of Fallawater, Wolf River, Summer Rambo, Chenango Strawberry, Smokehouse and other heritage varieties of apple trees all with a history to tell. His friends and neighbors liked the taste of the apples so much that his grafting turned into a side business and he now sells trees in the spring. A popular variety is Wolf River, which makes gigantic apples perfect for sauce and butter.
Twin Sugars Orchard sells trees in the spring and is working on making apple cider vinegar for future sale. In the late summer and fall you can find heritage apples for sale at the Lewisburg Farmers Market, or you can pick-your-own at the farm.
Twin Sugars in full bloom (2012)