of the Pritchett Family Farm
and the Apple Orchard History
Years ago, there
lived a good, hardworking, Christian man whose name was
William Tobe (W.T.) Pritchett. W.T. was an avid gardener.
His grandson, Barry, says he remembers ‘Pop’
standing propped up on his hoe…watching for weeds
to grow. While looking at his father’s Stark Brothers
Nursery catalogs, one of his sons, Marvin, would dream
about the colorful apples pictured there… of someday
raising beautiful apples like those.
Well, Marvin grew
up and married Rachel Evans (daughter of Ernest and Lela
Sluder Evans). They had a son, Barry, in July of 1961.
In 1965, Marvin planted his first orchard of 100 trees
across from Liberty Church in Gilmer County. In 1966,
he planted 500 more trees just a few miles away, on Tails
Creek, on a farm adjoining his father’s land.
Around 1971, they
built a 20’ by 20’ Red Apple Barn to sell
their apples from. Barry remembers that they used to sit
and shine the apples ‘on top’ in the basket
with a towel. Their cider was stored in recycled 1/2 gallon
orange juice jars after being cranked out on a hand-powered
cider press. One day, ‘grandmaw’ and ‘grandpaw’
Evans worked all day and made a whopping 16 gallons!!
The cider was kept cold and sold from an old Coca-Cola
cooler. Grandmaw sold apples and made cider during the
week while ‘grandpaw’ Evans tended the trees
and picked apples. They all thought selling $40-$50 on
Sunday was good!
In about 1975,
they built a back portion onto the Apple Barn. It consisted
of a bathroom, cider room and a room for storing and grading
apples. In 1976, Marvin became an Elder of the Ellijay
Church of Christ and started working at Astroturf in Dalton.
In June 1985,
Barry married Rebecca (Becca) Huckabey (daughter of George
and Laura Huckabey of Athens, Tennessee). In August of
1988, they were blessed with Joel William Pritchett, and
in November of 1990, with Zachary Tobe Pritchett. The
boys are following in their ‘Pop’s’
footsteps. They love to experience all the work and fun
of the orchard and the Apple Barn. In 1990, Marvin doubled
the size of the front of the Apple Barn. On some days,
he still has trouble keeping up with the demand for his
fried apple pies, fritters, cider and such. In 1993, The
Atlanta Journal and Constitution, did a ‘Cider Taste
Test’ of all the apple houses in the area. We are
happy to say that our cider won 1st place!!!
Lots of folks
tell us, “We’ve been coming to your apple
barn for years!” We like to hear that!! Pop has
built his business on customer satisfaction, the quality
of his merchandise (after all, he’s had decades
of experience!) and friendly service. He gets lot of help
with the ‘friendly’ part, thanks to his two
grandsons!! Some of their favorite sayings are, “Welcome
to the Red Apple Barn!” and “Have a nice day!!”
Church friends, family members, and in-laws often help
out when it gets hectic – especially during peak
In March of 1996,
Marvin retired from Astroturf and is now ready to devote
his time to his ‘other’ full-time-job –
growing his ‘dream’ apples. In the past few
years, a new orchard has been planted and is now bearing
delicious fruit. The “1966” orchard has been
converted to pastureland for a few cattle. And some alterations
have been made in the back of our Apple Barn to help make
On May 14th, 1997,
we were blessed with a wonderful baby girl named Breann
Elizabeth. She is the artist of the family. You may see
some of her artwork the next time you come here. Joel,
Zach, and Breann are growing so quickly! In fact Joel
is at Medical College of Georgia in Dental School. Zach
is at the University of Georgia enrolled in Animal Science
and the Veterinary Incentive Program. Breann is involved
in several church and school activities and keeps us busy.
They all help out on the farm in a big way! They are learning
all they can so they can carry on the Pritchett tradition.
God has truly blessed
our family! May He also bless you and yours.
Hope to see you