Adolph, Matthew and Lucas Atkins, Atkins Orchard
Heirloom Cider Apple Orchard
Grant Award: $6,000
To fill a niche in the local apple cider market, the Atkins have added a high density heirloom cider apple orchard. Currently, the demand for cider apples (which are different in tannin and sugar levels than eating varieties) far exceeds the supply and local cider producers in North Carolina are going out of state to get their apples.
The high density method of growing will allow them to plant 1,600 trees in 1.5 acres of land and will produce one third more bushels of apples over a 5 year period compared to traditional growing methods. The grant will help pay for 1,600 apple tree rootstock and trellising supplies.
The Atkins have two roadside stands that provide local direct to consumer sales. The cider apple varieties will initially be marketed to local cideries.
For more information, see their website.