Loudoun County & Apple Growing: Notes from the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station

Google has digitized an enormous wealth of books, including a run of Bulletins from the late 19th-century by the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. These pamphlets covered a wide range of topics, from pest control and fertilizer to barn construction and cattle care. Loudoun County, with its myriad farming communities from the past to the present, is mentioned several times in connection to apple production and distribution within the state.

Bulletin No. 98, Volume VIII, No. 3, from March 1899 covers the soils in region (pp 29-34):

The York Imperial, Ben Davis, and Gano apples

Additional information is brought up on pg. 36, covering the possibility of growing the pippin apple in Aldie:

The Pippin Apple

Bulletin No. 101, Volume VIII, No. 6, from June 1899, gives the distribution of apple shipments from each county, in barrels. Loudoun County was roughly in the middle of the Piedmont counties in apple distribution, and, it can be inferred, apple production as well (pg. 115):

The same Bulletin, breaks down apple distribution by railroad stops, using returns. Here you can see the Sterling stop (pp. 116-121):

While Sterling in 1899 was just a drop in the bucket compared to the apple powerhouses of Purcellville and Round Hill in the western section of the county, it’s always interesting to see early mentions of the town.

Regrettably, the farmland of Loudoun County has declined since the turn of the last century, but farms like Crooked Run Orchard, in Purcellville, still allow you to pick your own apples from quite a number of varieties. These currently include the Tydeman Red, Paula Red, Gala, Rambo, Domine, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Jonagold, Cameo, Law Rome, York, Braeburn, Cortland, and Suncrisp.

After more than a century, it’s great to see that the York apple still has a place in Loudoun County agriculture.

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