The history of the Turkey Knob Brand had its beginnings in 1918 following World War I when Captain T.B. Byrd purchased a 300-acre orchard near Timberville, VA, known as the Dr. Kelly Orchard in partnership with his brother, Senator Harry Byrd. Within the next ten years about 300 more acres of orchard were added. In 1930, a 300 acre orchard near Mt. Jackson, known as Turkey Knob Orchard was given to Harvard University. The Byrd Brothers leased the orchard from Harvard. In 1937, the Byrds hired Mr. Fred M. Fredrickson in management. In 1943, Mr. Fredrickson purchased 180 acres adjoining the Turkey Knob Orchard, began planting it, and called it the Clay Hill Orchard. The Byrds acquired a half-interest in the young orchard. In 1946, Harvard sold the Turkey Knob Orchard to the Byrds and in 1947, Mr. Fredrickson acquired a half-interest. In 1960, Mr. T. B. Byrd bought out Mr. H. F. Byrd’s interest in the Timberville Orchards and in 1968, H. F. Byrd’s interest in Turkey Knob was sold to Turkey Knob Orchards.
In 1954, the Byrd Brand, used for U.S. Extra Fancy packs, was changed to Turkey Knob Brand, as it is used today. The first cold storage was built in 1958, a partnership between the Timberville Orchard and Turkey Knob Orchards, and thus was named Byrd and Fredrickson. Additions to the facility were made over the next 11 years. The Turkey Knob Brand became widely known for a high quality pack over the following decades.
In 1994, Mr. Gordon “Sonny” Bowman purchased the Byrd and Fredrickson orchards and packing/storage facilities along with the Turkey Knob Brand. The packing operation was completely upgraded with an all new state of the art computerized packing line and modernization of the packing house. Mr. Bowman formed an alliance of his orchards and other growers for growing and packing fresh apples known as Turkey Knob Growers. The new packing operation was named Bowman Fruit Sales. Bowman Fruit Sales stores, packs and sells 100% of the fresh apple production of Turkey Knob Growers, which today totals some 3,500 acres of apples.
Turkey Knob Growers are members of the Virgina Apple Growers Association, www.virginiaapples.org